Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The quotes of good friends

One does not need to be a famous (or Fantasy) author or a celebrity to say things that are worthy of being quoted. Indeed, I have always found the best quotes come from the part of us that is most connected to the human spirit, when we are thinking about the world and what it is to be human, for that is when Fantasy, the Spirit of Tolkien, links with each and every one of us. Why? Because while escapism may be the beating heart of the Fantastic, humanity, an examination of what it means to be human through adventure, are the lungs. Here are a series of quotes from personal friends of mine, posted by them on Facebook and then saved by me. (Naturally I have omitted their last names.)

"Humans are good. Some people are evil, and because of that we are forced to feel pain and anger and sadness. Some people will hurt us, try to break us and destroy us from the inside out. But that will never happen, because some people are not all people. Our humanness, the part of us that loves and feels and cares and defends, cannot be broken. That part of us is the human, and that part will always be good." - Sierra

"Tell people you love them as often as you can whenever you genuinely feel it." - Ali

"It's a great feeling when your favorite books touch places that you know, but we need to think about what these and other stories are teaching us with their silence. The stories we tell, fictional and non-fictional, curate the ways we imagine. Since history is at its heart story-telling, the limits of our imagination become the limits of our historical curiosity and compassion." - Sophie

"The point of the hero defeating the dragon isn't that dragons exist, it's that the dragon can be defeated." - Ag 

"It's okay if your best is 80% one day, and 40% the next. It's okay to waver. If we performed our best every day, there would be no room for growth, or observation, or pauses in the interim of, simply, living. We wouldn't be able to stop and remember to love what is around us." -Ali

"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations." - Rachel

"The march of all of human history has no brakes, especially not for people trying to throw it into reverse." - Ben

"Don't worry about how your writing turns out, you will have all the time in the world to fail, fail again, fail harder, and learn to become better. Enjoy the transformation." - Lindsay

Patience does not always mean the waiting is meaningless. Patience is learning that the waiting actually has purpose." - Ali

"If you are feeling discouraged, distraught, confused, concerned about humanity, go spend some time talking to kids. You will see that hatred is a learned trait. Take control of that learning, because these kind and strange little geniuses are everything." - Violet 

"Respect is not handed to you just because you are older or more experienced. Respect is earned. The only thing I'll give you for free is the benefit of the doubt." - Eli

The left is a quote from my friend Maggie, and the right one was my reply.
This was, like the others, was part of a facebook conversation,
one I liked it so much I made this image out of it.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

I have just started the Towers of Midnight

The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just started the Towers of Midnight, Volume #13 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson).
The world has been saved from the Dragon Reborn yet, while the Pattern screams in agony at the Dark One's touch, it is revealed that the Lady of Pleasure yet lives albeit at a fair price. So it is that even when tortured the Age Lace weaves the threads of its salvation, for the Golden Crane rides for Tarwin's Gap and not alone even as the Children of the Light struggle to finally earn their name or be crushed by the relentless turning of the Wheel. So it is that the Prince of the Ravens must face the snakes and foxes, while the sons of Morgase must confront their mistakes as the world prepares for Tarmon Gai'don. The whole world, for the Towers of Midnight are far away indeed.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Friday, June 19, 2020

I have just finished The Gathering Storm

The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just finished The Gathering Storm, Volume #12 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson).
The storm is coming yet the Light is strong, for though the Pattern trembles at the thunder the Ladies of Pain and Pleasure are ended. The storm is coming yet the Light is strong for, despite Seachan, the White Tower stands united under the True Flame of Tar Valon who now sits truly upon the Amyrlin Seat.
The storm is coming yet the Light is strong, for through the courage of Verin Sedai was poison used to rout the Tower's rot. The storm is coming yet the Light is strong, for sunlight peaks through the clouds as the Dragon Reborn laughs upon the broken slopes of Dragonmount as correctly foretold in the less than trustworthy Essanik Cycle: "At the end of time, when the many become one, the last storm shall gather its angry winds to destroy a land already dying. And its center, the blind man shall stand upon his grave. There he shall see again, and weep for what has been wrought." But the storm is still coming.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

My father and I just finished The Moon and the Face by Patricia A. McKillip

My father and I just finished The Moon and the Face by Patricia A. McKillip, sequel to Moon-Flash.
Leave to McKillip to harmoniously combine sci-fi with shamanism. To write an anthropological book in which, for Kyreol and Terje, the strange becomes the familiar and the familiar strange as two separate worlds come together through dreams that stretch across the cosmos, the innate power of the Riverworld, and love. All via journeys that are at once utterly different and yet parallel each other. Leave it to McKillip to answer the final and greatest question of the book with both a yes and no. As Icrane said, everything is simple. Even when it is complex.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

League of Legends

 "The things we carry should lift us up, not weigh us down.
Memories, love, and hope are the lightest necessities."

"Forgiveness is hard, but so very worth it."

So I finally did what several of my friends have been urging me to do for years, which is give the game League of Legends a try. My thoughts? It is a decent game and each character has solid lore behind them along with an always well-written short narrative featuring said character, good enough to establish an emotional attachment to them – which is of course the mark of excellent writing. My best characters are Kai'Sa the Daughter of the Void (whose image you see here) and Ashe the Frost Archer. My best characters because theirs are the stories that piqued my interest enough to finally give the game a try. While playing I found each character was full of worthy quotes which perfectly matched their personalities and background, so kudos to League of Legends for that; below her picture are two of Kai'Sa's and two of Ashe's are "Do not confuse mercy for weakness" and "Move quickly, position well, and the battle is won before blood is drawn." My verdict on the game beyond the lore? While I can see the appeal of it to many, the lore is really just to add flavor to a battle game without an overarching storyline, in which heroes like Kai'Sa and Ashe – who would never end up fighting each other – cross swords. Frankly I have little taste for senseless violence, though I of course know that such is not the intent behind League of Legends and am not condemning the game with these words. It is simply my own personal opinion. Do not get me wrong: I enjoy playing it. But lacking an true story it does not hold a candle up to other games such as RuneScape. I guess I just need to feel that the fantasy battles I fight mean something for the world they occur in.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Winterkeep, a return to the Graceling Realm Series


Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore has always had a special place a in my heart. Its world is neither the most complex I have ever seen nor is the story the most sophisticated, yet the characters are carve a place into one's heart forever. It was a series I thought I had finished back in 2013 (three years before I began Stars Uncounted), marking it on facebook with the following post:

"I have just finished Bitterblue, third and final book of Kristin Cashore's Seven Kingdoms Trilogy.
I began this series years ago, starting with a girl named Katsa who thought she was Graced with killing, but found love, friendship, and her true Grace. I continued with a girl named Fire, a Monster from the Dells who was hated for what her father was but who, like Katsa, found love and friendship and piece with her powers. And then Bitterblue, a teen Queen of a shattered kingdom and an old friend who endured betrayal, heartache, adventure, and the true meaning of love and friendship; and the importance of learning the Truth and Healing.
Now I am done. Thank you so much for everything Bitterblue, Fire, Katsa, Po, Raffin, Bann, Giddon, Nash, Brigan, Helda, Teddy, Saf, and Hava. I love you all and will see you again someday. I promise."

Since then its name has of course changed from the Seven Kingdoms Trilogy to the Graceling Realm Series, which is just as well because I just learned that come January 19, 2021 it is to be a trilogy no longer. For on that date Kristin Cashore expands the Graceling Realm geographically as well as otherwise with her newest novel Winterkeep, the book being named for a new nation beyond the known world and presumably the Winter Sea. A book in which we will be reunited with dear Bitterblue, brave Queen and now 23-year-old friend as well as Giddon from the Council and good old Hava. And, of course, a new friend named Lovisa Cavenda. 

When I wrote the above facebook post saying that I would see my old friends again someday I meant when I eventually reread the series. Not going to be the case, apparently, and doubly so since Winterkeep will itself have a sequel. Honestly, when I finish The Wheel of Time I will have likely have to wait a whole year before reading anything new on account of the old series' refusing to end. A good problem to have, but still...

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My father and I just finished Moon-Flash by Patricia A. McKillip

My father and I just finished Moon-Flash by Patricia A. McKillip.
Though categorized as partly sci-fi, McKillip is incapable of writing anything other than a lyrical masterpiece in which the words flow like a river off the page, though your soul, and back again. Which is not unlike the story as Kyreol's incurably curious nature leads her beyond what the people of the Riverworld, her people, had thought to be the edge of the world but is instead only the first stage of a long journey. A journey with her best friend Terje down the river and across questions to find answers that, though often shocking, leads both into the sky and a better understanding of the world, each other, and their dreams.