I know I will hear cries of bullshit from the mob, but the name of one of the baristas at my local coffee shop is Scheherazade. She is Persian. When I heard her friends call her by that name, my eyes lit up. Scheherazade is one of my favorite literary characters, the legendary Persian queen and the storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights.
The famous story goes that every day the Persian King would marry a new virgin, and every day he would send yesterday’s wife to be beheaded. This was done in anger, having found out that his first wife was betraying him. He had killed three thousand such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade, the vizier’s daughter.
According to Wikipedia, Scheherazade was described by in Sir Richard F. Burton’s translation this way:
“[She] had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of by gone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred.”
Against her father’s protestations, Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the King. Once in the King’s chambers, she started to tell a story to the King, and The King liked it so much, he asked for another, but Scheherazade said there was not time as dawn was breaking, and much like a network promo, insisted that the next story was even more exciting.
And so the King kept Scheherazade alive as he eagerly anticipated each new story, until, one thousand and one adventurous nights, and three sons later, Scheherazade who became his Queen.
Scheherazade is the ultimate storyteller. Can you imagine how good a blog she would have? There would be no writer’s block for her. She would have to come up with one amazing tale after another, or DIE. Of course, the King HAD to fall in love with her because of her amazing talent. She wouldn’t have time or energy to waste her time on the 140 character Twitter, avoiding the challenge of having to come up with a beginning, middle, and end.
Sometimes people ask me why I started blogging, and I never have a clear answer. I’m not trying to make money, help anyone “learn” anything, or even hone my writing skills. I just have fun writing stories, sometimes stupid and sometimes serious. I like to be honest and I also enjoy stretching my personality so a different part of my id shows up. I love that my mother reads my blog and it makes her laugh. I love the comments of long-time readers who know when I’m lying. I once got an email from a reader who told me she played with herself after reading one of my sexually-oriented posts. I cried after saving that email. That was worth more to me than four years of BlogHer ads. Sure, I want attention, like everyone, but the fact that I am communicating to you with my direct words, saying things that I would not in polite company makes me feel like I am floating in the air while fucking the angels in heaven.
I don’t get that feeling online anywhere else than on my blog.
When I heard the barista’s name called out on that day in the coffee shop, I immediately went up to her and asked excitedly, “Your name is Scheherazade?!”
She was taken aback. She was a pretty girl, no more that twenty-three, and probably got hit on by customers all the time, and I must have seemed like some sleazy guy using some opening line.
“Yes,” she said. Or just “Sherry.”
“Sherry! Oh no, Scheherazade is an amazing name. I’ve never met anyone named it before. You HAVE to use the full name.”
At this point, she looked like she was about to call the manager to tell him to throw me out of the establishment.
“Do you know who Scheherazade was?”
She said that it meant something, like a fruit or flower, in Farsi. Who knows? Maybe it does, but clearly she was ignorant about the important meaning.
“Scheherazade was the beautiful AMAZING woman who told the 1001 Tales in the Arabian Nights!”
“Excuse me,” she said. “I have another customer.”
She dashed away to make a cappuccino, eager to leave the aging pervert with the graying hair. She had no interest at all in me or my story. Or even the story of her own name!
But luckily, YOU do. And I see this as a sign. Even Scheherazade, the ultimate storyteller, is not interesting until there is a story built around her. So I finally dragged myself off Twitter and Facebook because I had to write a story about Scherazarde, the barista in the Redondo Beach Coffee Company.
On, Saturday, July 25, at 3PM — Amy of Doobleh-vah and I will be offering a Room of Your Own at BlogHer called Blogging as Storytelling. It is for those who care about Schehrazade more than giveaways. It will be so good that you will have to return to your hotel room afterwards to play with yourself.