The Kyorinrin: Words Given Life

Arkane Curiosities

Writers, how many times have you started a new story or novel, only to jump ship for a new, shinier idea? Well, your written work might have some feelings about being abandoned. The Kyorinrin is literally words given life.

An Animated Spirit

In Japan, the tradition of the tsukumogami yokai allows tools and objects to acquire a spirit. Common examples of objects that can become tsukumogami include tools such as umbrellas, sandals, or teapots, as well as household items like lamps or futons. Once the object becomes a tsukumogami, it gains the ability to move and act on its own, often with mischievous or malevolent intent.

In Japanese folklore, tsukumogami are often depicted as small, furry creatures with big eyes and mischievous personalities. They are said to appear on the night of Setsubun, the day before the start of spring, and cause chaos and mischief in homes and businesses. However, some tsukumogami are more benevolent and may even bring good luck to those who keep them in their homes.

Forgotten Writing

The Kyōrinrin is a special type of tsukumogami formed when a scroll or book has lain forgotten for many years. After gathering a layer of dust, the writing gains a spirit. The Kyōrinrin decorate themselves with extravagant kimonos and ornate details, perhaps because they want to be noticed by their creator. They also develop bird-like qualities: beaks and long expandable wings. 

The Kyōrinrin shake off their dust and seek out their owners who have forgotten them. They only want to spread their knowledge and if it has to be by force, then so be it. 

So before your own writing grabs you by the throat and forces you to read it, perhaps you should dust off your own forgotten treasures and take a peek.

Tim Kane

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Beanstalk in a Box

What would fairytales be like if Amazon delivered? This modern fairytale is the premise for the flash fiction “Beanstalk in a Box”. The story explores the disclaimers and legalease the company would use should it sell such items.

Look for the anthology Professor Feiff’s Compleat Pocket Guide to Xenobiology for the Galactic Traveller on the Move is available, ironically, at Amazon.

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Everyone wants to lower our carbon footprint and stop climate change. So imagine when scientists come up with a novel solution — a fungus that gobbles up carbon from the air. It could be the savior of the planet. The only problem, this fungus likes to eat carbon wherever it exists. It’s particularly fond of the carbon locked in living cells.

This story tracks a teen girl who is left at home to care for her younger brother and baby. It plays off the tale of the Three Little Pigs with the carbon-gobbling fungus taking the role of the wolf. Can she keep her family safe with dwindling food and the fungus chewing up the house around her?

This story appears in the new anthology by Write Hive titled “Navigating Ruins.” You can find it on Amazon, both in Kindle and print.

Tim Kane

Breathing Space

Long ago I read Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” and was captivated by the tale of a man’s struggle to survive in the frigid cold of the Yukon. A fire is all that would save him, yet could he build it before freezing?

This inspired me to write about the rigors of space travel. I wondered, could I put a person in a similar situation? In this case, Cate has been blown away from her ship and must travel back before a solar flare cooks her inside her suit. The only problem, which of those tiny specks represents her ship? With only a limited amount of fuel for her maneuvering jets, she must pick correctly or perish.

In this tale, I also wanted to explore just how far a person would go to save themselves. In movies you often see people sacrifice themselves for others. But would you really do that? Pressed up against the real concept of death, how many of use would risk our lives for someone else?

The story appears in the 45th issue of Dark Moon Digest. You can find it at Amazon, both kindle and paperback.

Tim Kane