(Prose) The Way the Cosmos Was for a Girl by Glenys Livingstone

Glenys55And the Great Cosmic Schoolbus, full of children to be delivered all over the world, pulled up in the outback. Red dust flew. The land was flat and dry … well at least that’s how it looked to her. There were actually a few trees, and hills, and there was a bit of greenery, and the soil did seem to grow some crops – mainly some kind of nut that grew as a root it looked like. But comparatively speaking …. I mean this Schoolbus had driven by, and stopped, at some fantastic places! At this place where she was supposed to get off, there were no buildings …. well, there was one painted wooden structure – a house, she supposed; and a couple of unpainted ones. But where were the great stone universities, conservatoriums, art galleries, observatories, ancient places of worship, piazzas, great works of art on every bridge? In fact, where were the bridges?

“No, no … there must be some mistake.” the girl thought.

“Excuse me” she said to the driver, “wrong Stop”.

“Afraid not” said the driver, “this is it.”

“No” she said. “I don’t want to get off here. I’m sure you have made a mistake. I want More than what is here.”

“Listen young one ,” said the driver, “this is where your ancestors have come to. This is your entry point. Your ancestors are creating something new here, beginning again like their ancestors did millennia ago in other places. It doesn’t look like much yet, but give it several hundred years or a bit more, maybe a millennia, and there will be a big change. You will be a part of it in fact.”

“No” she said.”I won’t have that long. I will only be able to see the small picture. And I will know in my soul that I am missing something, but I won’t know what. Are you sure you’ve got the right ancestors? Don’t my lot have more books?”

“Listen dear, this is it. I have to leave you. This is where you Enter, for whatever complex weaving that is going on.”

“I will be one of the hungry children” she protested. ” … not for food. I will feel it in my being. In fact I will feel like I am not being, and for a long time I won’t even know. I will feel like a stranger here.”

“Almost everyone feels like that at first, but they soon adjust.”

“No” she said again.” I won’t adjust … I will remember that there is More, much More. And as soon as I can, I will go away from here to find It.”

“I’m sorry” said the driver. “I have to go.”

She disembarked. The Great Cosmic Schoolbus pulled away. Red dust flew. She sat down in the red dirt, a tot with waved platinum hair, and there she wept, as she remembered Other Times and Other Places … the More. She wept and she wept in the red dirt, turning it to mud; until gradually, the visual memories started to blur, and great stones rolled across entrances in her mind. She stopped crying and looked about her. A woman’s voice was calling out, for her she supposed. Indeed the woman came and picked her up, commenting jovially on her grubby state and took her inside.

And this is the way it was, as it was told to her as she grew up with these people, her bloodline:

The Cosmos was manufactured by a male Deity, perhaps about 6000 years ago. That was really when Time began; there was nothing worth knowing about before then. It was all written down in a book called “The Bible”, which was the story of the Universe. There was no female involved at the Creative level in this manufacture. She was one of the creatures , and her place in the Universe was that she was servant of the male human, ahead of all the (other) animals. But she did not do that very well either, she proved disruptive to the order that Divine Masculinity had set in place.

This (now) country Queensland girl 1954 C.E. did believe this story. There was no other. This is what grew in her, scribed into every cell.

This God, He was a Mechanic .. figured out how to make bodies work and put them together, with his hands or just spoke it all into being from his great supremely ordered mind. The local solar system and the galaxies just hung up there, whirring around like clocks. The story was that it all got done in seven days. This was not metaphorical. This God was no Poet .

Sometimes inside her, she ached for poetry. It did exist somewhere didn’t it? … once upon a time? But she could not remember clearly. Her mother did read her “once-upon-a-time” stories, called “fairy tales”, that sometimes implied Other Worlds, but often the stories just seemed a more extreme version of what she experienced here.

In the cosmic realms where it really mattered, the female did not create, write, paint, speak anything of consequence; on the contrary she was dangerous to the harmony of things. All the chaos and pain of the world was her fault, the result of her insatiable innate wickedness, or at least, her ineptness and stupidity. And the God ,who was described as “father”, had to send a son to die a horrible death to fix it all up.

Glenys 1966Guilt was scribed into the girl, carved into her. How could she ever re-compense the Universe? She would be a good girl …. she would try to make it right. She did not want to be the cause of so much pain. Perhaps if she disappeared, would it be alright then? And then, perhaps, when she had made up for the devastation of her kind, she could be loved? She would not expect it until then.

The “once-upon-a-time” stories that gave clues to other possible places and characters in the Universe , seemed to have bits that the mother did not want to tell . The mother would falter as she read, and then would proceed as if making it up.

The girl wondered – what did the wolf really do to Little Red Riding Hood and the grandma? What other horrible things were possible, that she had not yet imagined? Her mother would have spared her the whole tale if she could have, it seemed. The girl felt her mother’s wish for more hopeful tales, tales of a better world. The mother had an ember in her heart that longed for a world that she could embrace, one that she could even just dream of …. if something would help her imagine it.

Another thing about the God was that he could see you at all times, and see your thoughts as well. His gaze was without boundary, his light knew no darkness. And there were other great Males with the same powers:- one called Santa Claus, and another called the Easter Bunny. These last two were a bit more easy going; they were less powerful and they seemed to overlook smaller things. But the God, he demanded every last bit of your soul.

The girl thought that maybe all adults had this power to see your thoughts, so she tried not to have bad ones (that is, especially sexual ones), but it was really difficult. She just hoped they were all too busy to bother with her.

As if to imitate this Male Deity and His penetrating Gaze, the male humans in this place, displayed images of naked female humans, on walls where they worked and in special magazines. And there were cartoon pictures of wildly excited male humans eternally chasing the females. She was to be as perfect as possible, so that she would be desired in this way.

Glenyslegs 1973The girl wanted to be desirable. They sometimes called her Marilyn, after one of the women in these magazines. So perhaps there was a chance that she would be wanted. If she was good and comely, would the God be somewhat appeased? And she knew there was pleasure in sex. That’s what she wanted; more pleasure. This was the way to get it. As she grew into a woman, she always prepared herself to be watched by the men, to be judged on her presentation. The girl learned to see herself from outside herself really well; she soon forgot how to think from within herself. For the sake of the entire Universe, and for the possibility of pleasure in her being, she placed herself from within the Male gaze: always to be self-conscious and at the same time, vacuous.

The people always told stories, with moving pictures and with words, about male humans stalking, violating, and sometimes killing female humans. It was known therefore that a woman alone, especially after dark,was not safe.

 The girl wondered, was this because the woman was so bad? She became very afraid. Her mother commented that the girl had seemed very afraid from the uttering of her first words. No-one seemed to know why.


How did the girl begin to remember the Other Times and Other Places? How did she take this Cosmos and lift it from her soul? Where did the alchemy begin? Where was the seed? What voice whispered to her? The girl was always listening for Something Else, because she felt the hunger, and she remembered the ember of desire in her mother’s heart.

It happened that at school she heard the poetry …. and her mother had a garden where beauty was revealed. And it happened that the world outside this place could not be kept silent. The people here always left the radio on, and it leaked stories sometimes – stories of a change sweeping the world outside. It came mostly threaded in music.

GlenysHippieFrom a long way away, Other times and Places filtered in ….. just little bits here and there.

 The girl scraped and licked these stories up as she did the remaining cake mix from a bowl. It was like a tapping on the stones that had rolled across entrances in her mind the day she had sat weeping in the dirt. She heard It, the More, beckon. She could not have refused.

GlenysSea1973?There was also the communion of the land – and the sun – and the stars. The land and the sun – were more ancient than any story she had heard told in this place; and the stars – held infinity in their embrace.

The girl thought about this.

Another crack in this Cosmos was the experience of the Creative Force of Life in her own body.

pregnant G 2Eventually the girl carried her own child within her, and she knew tangibly the power of the Universe. It was in her; they had lied. There was nothing second rate about this, but there were no words to describe it. The knowledge sat in her heart like an uncut jewel, awaiting its time.

The girl went away, she went a long way away, She travelled light years from her mother’s womb. Where, she wanted to know, was her Mother? She travelled deeply into herself, into her deep space, beyond where she or her bloodline, could have imagined. She wanted to hold the uncut jewel to the light, know it, feel it, become it. So long had she longed, not knowing. Now she would spread her wings. “See how I glide” she wrote, “see how I turn; rising, rising, I am flying.” As she contemplated her possibilities, her capacities, she sensed herself small against the greatness of the sky. Glenys 1972Sky 2What would she? How would she? She felt the loss, she felt the gain. She knew the passing, she knew the beginning. She pulled in the anchors, she trusted herself to the ocean and the wind and the stars. She found other maids also seeking their Mother. They would together, create the map.

The Form and the Shape that they sought was not in any Atlas. Her gaps had been covered up, her hollows filled in, her name blanked out. She lay buried beneath things, silent, but with a detectable visceral pulsation. They would dig out the hollows and the gaps with their hands. They would roll away the stones. They would utter her Word. They would Dream the Other Times and Other Places, expanding and transmitting the echoes that dimly resonated in them. Soon they would vibrate visibly, audibly with the Song, and beam the radiant enlivening Vision from her re-awakened eyes. There was More – much More.


The girl had become a transmitter for her bloodline, beaming in the new colours and textures, sending on the ripples. Indeed, this was her part: her part in the complex weaving that the Bus driver had guessed at. She did not belong there; this was as it should be. Her passion to run, to leave, was the Wisdom … yet always with her mother’s hunger for better tales to tell in her heart.

Note: the girl wrote this story in 1996.

Meet Mago Contributor Glenys Livingstone

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