Trickster

You know I have been thinking about porous boundaries, shadow regions, ambiguities, and, lately, about the idea of embodied intermediaries. This is why I have become more interested in how these intermediaries have been narrated: Hermes, Mercury, Esu, and, in the case of Christian religions, angels. But no, to say ‘interested’ is insufficient. Better to call it ‘invested’ – an investment in what, it now occurs to me, I might call a parenthetical mode of life.
— Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things

what in essence is an angel?
she is a messenger, mediator, watcher and warner
— Deborah Levy, An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell

The daring, I think, is always in the liminal, the space she traverses between fixed things, the place where fixed things can change, the crossing of borders between the fixed-seeming things
— Ali Smith, In the Spirit of Spark

The first effect of abroad is strangeness. It makes me strange to myself. I experience a transfer, a transparency.
— Joanna Walsh, Vertigo

Someone who has been abroad can never come home again
— Hannah Sullivan, Three Poems

When people asked me, what do you want to be when you grow up? I’d reply: a foreigner.
— Margarita García Robayo, Fish Soup

In seeking to converse across borders, we too must operate in the thresholds. Consider a door’s dual nature, simultaneously barrier and bridge while also serving as an invitation to enter.
— Nick Sousanis, Unflattening

Trickster is always associated with borders, no man’s lands, with crossroads and intersections.
— Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends

He is the spirit of the doorway leading out, and of the crossroad at the edge of town
— Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World

With this mercurial god, division comes to mean response. His presence allows transparency, protection, a seeing through something and an act of seeing something through.
— Ali Smith, Artful

Trickster goes where the action is, and the action is in the borders between things.
— Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends

The particular thing to learn is how to get to the crack between the worlds and how to enter the other world.
— Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan

We live in these cracks, these fault-lines.
— Sean Bonney, Letters Against the Firmament

Quicksilver is another word for Mercury, is another word for a planet that looks like a grey boulder in space, another word for an element which is both fluid and solid, can change its shape yet still hold its form, is another word for Hermes, Greek god of art, artfulness, thievery, changeability, swiftness of thought and of communication, language, the alphabet, speechmaking, emails, texts, tweets; god of bartering, trade, liaison, roads and crossroads, travellers, the stock exchange, wages, dreams; guide between the surface world and the underworld, guide between the living and the dead, stealer of unbreakable nets for catching pretty virgins, god of free association, god of freedom of movement, fluidity, mutability of form, broad-hatted heel-winged god of all going-between, the deliverer.
— Ali Smith, Artful

The road that trickster travels is a spirit road as well as a road in fact. He is the adept who can move between heaven and earth, and between the living and dead. As such, he is sometimes the messenger of the gods and sometimes the guide of souls
— Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World

Borders are forever being crossed; to draw a border is to just demarcate the line across which we will carry dreams, wounds, meanings, bundles of goods, ideas, children. Even the threshold of a doorway can be a liminal space between public and private, between mine and ours; even liminal means a sensory threshold, often in the sense of hovering between states rather than crossing over from one to another.
— Rebecca Solnit, Whose Story Is This?

To describe something as an edgeland is to be reminded that we are at an interface between the ‘here’ and the ‘there’, what is behind and what is beyond, what was then, what is now, and what will become.
— M. W. Bewick & Ella Johnston, The Orphaned Spaces

This is the insight that comes to all boundary-crossers – immigrants in fact or immigrants in time – that meaning is contingent and identity fluid, even the meaning and identity of one’s own body.
— Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World

The trickster starts as an unselfconscious, amorphous being. As the story unfolds he gradually discovers his own identity, gradually recognises and controls his own anatomical parts: he oscillates between female and male, but eventually fixes his own male sexual role; and finally learns to assess his environment for what it is.
— Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger

I’m a template. I know that, he knows that. A myth to be slipped in. Slip up into.
— Max Porter, Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Man of the people. Simple patternmaker. Literary outrider and trickster. A magpie sniping from other birds’ nests.
— James Sallis, Willnot

And so work has changed its character. More often than not, it is a one-off act: a ploy of a bricoleur, a trickster, aimed at what is at hand and inspired and constrained by what is at hand, more shaped than shaping, more the outcome of chasing a chance than the product of planning and design.
— Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity

It would be a scrapbook, a collage, a graphic novel, a dissolving of the boundaries between forms because Crow is a trickster, he is ancient and post-modern, illustrator, editor, vandal…
— Max Porter, Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Wandering aimlessly, trickster regularly bumps into things he did not expect.
— Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World

Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or into the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification.
— Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium

And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky – so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.
— Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch