When I initially thought of the idea of a God’s Gardeners calendar, I thought it would be a simple task, y’know, putting together the Saints that were already mentioned in the novels, adding a few, and then just putting them altogether in a calendar. And then suddenly it spiraled into this abyss of lunar cycles and lengths of time and the ridiculousness of the human brain.
This project started off as a “simple” calendar of all the GG’s Saints and Feast Days; the only problem was who to list, when to list, and how long said list would be. It somehow morphed into a Craker calendar that would depict how the Crakers saw time, or didn’t see time, after the Flood and after their beloved two-skin friends started going away, with Blackbeard as its creator. I started off thinking they would be similar but then with even more thinking and frustration, I realized that the many nuances of our own Gregorian calendar were creeping into my ideas and simply wouldn’t make sense to the Crakers. Like the idea of adding days to keep up with the sun and moon makes me tired.
I struggled with the nuances of our own everyday lives–seconds, minutes, hours; days, weeks, months; names; reality versus imagination. I sunk myself into the abyss of the weirdness that is our way of living. I realized that our world and the Craker world, although the same world geographically one could argue, are completely and vastly different (and let’s hope it stays that way). I couldn’t force all of our complications onto these unsuspecting Crakers. I had to rid myself of my inclination to follow the norm, that is, our world’s norms, and put myself in the body of a Craker, who are confused at the abstract but completely content with the physical.
The way the Crakers will inevitably create their own society is so reminiscent of us “normal” humans. Take Blackbeard, who was originally just some little kid curious about Toby and wanting to follow her around. Now, /he/ is the storyteller in his world, having been passed it from Toby from Snowman. He was taught how to make ink, how to write, how to use leaves as paper, how to use these leaf pages to make a book, and the cycle continues. Though Crake programmed the Crakers to be perfect and without flaw, not fussing with trivial matters as tumultuous emotions or questioning, what makes the Crakers truly human is the one thing Crake could never have programmed out of them–language.
In reference to my last blog post written, I was, and still am, very adamant on the thought that Crakers should be considered humans. Their curiosity about objects and words they don’t know and their yearning for learning make them human. Crake might’ve wanted to make them post-human, but if he could not program singing out of them, it must be an inherent part of their nature, just as regular speaking is for us humans.
The calendar I made consists of 5 months, each having 3 10-day weeks. I actually found an article talking about a calendar that was found to be 5000 years older than the oldest one we had known so far from Mesopotamia, and it was from Scotland. That calendar also had roughly 3 10 day weeks, so I designed my calendar after that because I see the Crakers as the very base level of a human society, and I don’t mean any offense by that. I chose 5 months because frankly I don’t understand the lunar year in and of itself, but the 29.5 days for a new moon to turn back into a new moon made sense to me.
And the 5 months fits into my assumption that the Crakers would continue to follow a base 10 system as we do now. I know someone here is a math major, but the debate between base 10 and other ones like base 12 are very controversial, but I’m an advocate for our system, especially for the Crakers. I think they would make the most sense of their 10 fingers, and of the already put in place system there is, and I didn’t think it necessary to try and complicate things further.
The Crakers’ celebrations are on the days of the New Moon and the Full Moon, having 10 somewhat feast days, if we want to refer back to the Gardeners. Now for the actual celebrations, I originally wanted to pick a lot of the previous Gardeners’ saints, but I realized that these Crakers aren’t scientists or religious people, aside from Crake and Oryx, so having these random names, like the ones Snowman gave to them, and these random species they never heard of I thought would be a disservice. So the people, or concepts, I chose for the days of celebration are the days of Crake, Oryx, Snowman, Toby, Animals, Plants, the Earth, the Ocean, Peace, and the Soul.
The only mentions of old Gardeners’ saints are for the Ocean, with Schackleton, Crozier, and Oates, and with the Soul, with Julian of Norwich. I chose people close to the Crakers because I don’t think they would be completely okay with the idea of celebrating a person they’ve never seen or heard of before, but having their creators, Crake and Oryx, and the two people who first told them stories, Snowman and Toby, they would happily and willingly celebrate these days. And of course the aspects of nature appeal to them as they are most active with their physical senses and are one with nature.
However, I wanted to add the concepts of Peace and Soul because I feel like even though they were programmed to not deal with that many nuances that someday, maybe even in their near future, the Crakers will progress into more, say, intellectual beings.
I really liked the idea of Blackbeard writing down the calendar, I think someone suggested this to me so thank you, because really he is the next storyteller, after Snowman and Toby pass away.
Article I first got my idea of 3 ten-day weeks for a month
What I based my hymn meter on
Essay that I thought put my thoughts about the Crakers and language in a more cohesive way than I ever could
More reading on human language
Book that helped (me at least) make sense of Toby and Blackbeard’s relationship (and as an extension Toby and the Crakers)