Why “A Thousand Days?” Well, it starts with two women. (Three if you count me, but don’t count me.) It begins with the thousand and one nights of Scheherazade and takes into account the thousand days of Anne Boleyn. Both had to keep their wits about them in order to survive the world in which they lived. Perhaps that is the case for all of us.
Every day the King of Persia married a new virgin, and each morning the girl sent at dawn to be beheaded, the terrible price extracted because the King’s first wife had betrayed him.
Scheherazade, the self-educated daughter of a vizier, volunteered to marry the king. Her father, fearing for his daughter, tried to stop the marriage, but Scheherazade had some ideas of her own.
As the wedding night drew to end, she asked permission to see her sister, so that she might say goodbye. The sister was in on this and asked Scherazade to please tell just one last story. The King lay awake, enthralled with Schererazade’s first story. He asked for another, but she said no, it was too close to dawn, adding how unfortunate that was, as the next story was even more exciting.
Eager to hear the next story, the King kept Schererazade alive that night and the next and the next, she told him 1001 tales. During that time, she also bore him three sons, and the stories enlightened him in morality and kindness. At the end of the 1001 stories, he made her his queen.
Educated in France, Anne Boleyn was just a teenaged girl when England’s Henry VIII decided to that she would be mother to his heir. Yet Anne refused to bear him an illegitimate child, and refused him congress without marriage, so the monarch divorced his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, heretofore an unthinkable development in the royal family.
Anne bore Henry a daughter, Elizabeth, and the king, desperate for a son, was disgusted and began to take his affections elsewhere.
When Anne objected, he had his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell make a case against her that included adultery, incest and witchcraft . Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and then beheaded. (A fate Cromwell faced himself four years later.) She had served as queen for a thousand days.
Like Schererazade, I will be telling stories for a thousand days. (I hope that I won’t be bearing three three more sons though.) I have written about crime for many years. As in the manner of Anne Boleyn, I am concerned about those wrongly accused, or crimes not well understood, and the ways in which the mainstream media sells these stories on their salacious face value. What really interests me and what I write about is people. It may be people as seen through a framework of death, or love, or crime; dogs, children, politics, music, art.
When I began this endeavor, I thought that, like Scheherazade I would be telling a story every day. I don’t know if I even have a thousand stories in me, but without my life depending on it, I can not tell you one every day. A witticism or a weather report perhaps, but there is not enough of me to carry you on a journey every day. That disappoints me, but at least I’ve come to realize my limitations.
So more like in the case of Anne Boleyn, this is a tenure of a thousand days. On November 25, 2011, I will lay this aside. (That’s a Friday, by the way, the one after Thanksgiving.) I just hope that I can keep my head. There is also a partial eclipse of the sun expected on that very date. But it will only be visible in Antarctica and that seems so appropriate given the limited visibility A Thousand Days has enjoyed.
I’m interested in your comments and welcome them.