[image description: A well-dressed being in a dark turquoise suit and collar and tie is seen against a golden parchment background. But things are not as one might expect, as a cloud of steam (smoke?) rises from their collar. Their face is smoking (steaming?) in front of their waistcoat. Text reads, “243, unknown, small god of ego death”]
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The worst of it is that so many people assume he’s a male god. And to be fair, sometimes he is; being swept aside and forgotten has no gender, and every gender, all at the same time. But even he finds it offensive—as much as he finds anything offensive—that people would make that assumption, as if only men have ever created anything worth preserving.
If anything, across the great march of history, Unknown is a female god, she who wrote stories or made discoveries and was then shoved briskly to the side, so that men could claim the things she’d made as their own, attaching their own names to something that was never theirs to hold. Or they’re an aggregate god, singular they and plural at the same time, filled with stones thrown by people outside and inside the binary both.
Unknown accepts all pronouns, as long as there’s no insult implied. They would like a little dignity for once, having been denied it for so very long.
They are the shadow behind the story, the inspiration behind the invention, the intellect behind the idea. They are nothing and they are everything, and they are forgotten, means and motive and all. Sometimes they are intentional: sometimes they set a thing free, unclaimed, to become the property of everyone and no one at the same time. But all too often, they are erased, the clever words stolen from their mouths and turned into a quip that “everyone just knows,” the striking innovation transformed into common practice.
It’s not that they want compensation, necessarily. It’s just that sometimes, a little credit would be nice. Sometimes, being remembered would be nice.
Sometimes having a name would be nice.
So the worst of it is that people make things up about them, decide things on his behalf when she’s not available to contradict. But all they want is to be remembered.
All they want is a little respect.
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Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: