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11 October 2021

Posted by Matt L.T. Smtih

Receptionists & Inky Voids - MAST Collective Blog #3

Today we are thinking about the space between spaces. The points between destinations. Today we are thinking about limbo. The liminal spaces. The hallways, the waiting rooms, the inky voids. We spend time writing or researching (which is just as valuable as writing itself - a writer laying their own groundwork) our own conceptions of limbo. What does limbo mean to us? What is limbo to the town that the collective are constructing together? How would a character or voice from our town react to limbo?


But what resides in limbo? What sits at the portals and gateways to new realms? You can’t see the dentist without first getting past the receptionist. Have you even made an appointment? Have you answered the questions three? No? Then you might be fat out of luck, friend. 


Antosh starts talking us through the concept of a threshold guardian, a being, an entity, or even a space itself, that guards the threshold to a new destination. As examples Antosh gives us: 


  • Tom Bombadil from The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings: A non-interventionist god who meets the heroes before they step into the difficulty of their adventure. 

  • Cerberus: the ‘hound of hell’ that guards the gates to the Underworld, stopping any souls who might dare to escape. 

  • The Four-Five-Six Laundry from Archer: Archer is a comedy spy series. In the series their base of operations hides behind a laundry which acts as a front, a secret elevator sitting behind the washing machines. A space can also be a threshold guardian.


Thinking of our limbo spaces, or drawing from the places we have constructed so far, Antosh challenges us to place a threshold guardian within them. Once we have a threshold guardian fleshed out, we are tasked with placing a sentence from either our threshold guardian, limbo spaces, or both, into the padlet to share with the rest of the collective. Once shared he gets us into a bit of collaboration and has us write in response to someone else’s line, encouraging us to take it in any direction we like! 


I think all of us would quite appreciate a threshold guardian in our lives sometimes. Who would your threshold guardian be? A loyal K9 companion? Would you go live in the mountains across the other side of a treacherous rickety bridge that few dare to cross? My personal favourite is the “do not disturb” feature on my phone that ensures no spam calls will stop my writing rhythm on this day! I hope your writing today goes equally peacefully!

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