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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts on Fantasy, Cereal, & Why Can't I Ever Think of a Third?

The genre; not the daydreams.

I was obsessed with the fantasy genre for the majority of my childhood.  Aside from the usual dalliances into young adult drama and Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret to get all the "answers" to my burning questions, I devoted myself entirely to talking animals and people with wings and creatures that spoke made-up languages.  Ironically, I've never been able to finish a book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - I only read The Hobbit in sixth grade, for fun.  I remember doing some kind of kickass book jacket for it.  I drew a dragon.

Anyway, Brian Jacques was my biggest influence, my idol, and my god (may he rest in peace).  The Redwall series changed my life.  I own fifteen of the books (I just counted - they're still on my bookshelf), after reading the original for summer reading one year in elementary school.  I fell in love with Jacques' masterful descriptions, his attention to detail, his use of rodents to fight bloody battles and teach me lessons about friendship and love.  They were mice, for Christ's sake, but they taught me more about emotions than anything else has since.  Probably more about being a writer, too.  I was inspired to imagine my own wildflower-infused drinks and berry-covered meat stews, plus the beginning of noticing shades of colors for frocks, ball gowns, wedding dresses, cloaks, and anything else I needed.

In fact, aside from the countless stories rotting in the notebooks lost to my overflowing closet that liked to masquerade as "novels" until I was about ten years old, my first major foray into writing was going to be a fantasy novel of epic proportions.  I teamed with a great friend and fellow writer to plot everything (seeing as the vague beginnings of all our plot ideas stemmed from her own original characters and settings), and every hangout, every sleepover, was devoted to sketching our larger-than-life map, plotting backstories and present-day lives and futures, discovering who would fall in love with who, who should die, who would be lost to the wilderness of our imagined lands.  It was beautiful.  It was a joy to just create, to have the freedom to name people, places, things.  We had currency!  We had mountains and palaces!  We had love triangles and the lovelorn and the loveless.  Beautiful.

Not to mention the money that would have been in such a series as we had planned, what with the prequels, the sequels, the spin-offs and trilogies and growing family trees that would undoubtedly spawn fanfiction, movie deals, and cosplayers at all the best conventions.

And, now, here I am.  That book isn't finished; I don't know if it will ever be.  The story lives, complete, in my mind, but has never been fully committed to paper.  So, why the foray into the genre, into memories?  Because I'm reading a book now that very much reminds me of Redwall, and all the hope and promise I saw in my own endeavors mere years ago.  The freedom to create, the beauty of originality - it still exists.  Maybe I'll return to my roots...someday.


Does anyone else find it weird that there's always the one piece of cereal that talks and grins and dresses up in silly costumes to convince hordes of hungry, breakfast-deprived children that they must nom upon the Cereal Overlord's brethren in order to pass their fourth grade history quiz?  Would anyone else be bothered if Frosted Marco Polo strolled up to their morning bowl of sustenance and tried to convince them that eating his friends and family would be a good idea?  Why can't you think of these answers on your own, kid?  What kind of freakin' school do you go to, that evil sugary goodness needs to teach you all your history in the last fifteen minutes before you go skipping happily off to another day in history class?

This post is in memory of all the non-sentient cereal lost to their constant struggle for continued existence at the hands of the animated imposters posing as their friends.  You should be ashamed of yourselves, Frosted Mini Wheats.  Ashamed.


It's always a struggle to come up with a third idea for my Big Myth posts.  Seriously, if I can make note of two interesting ideas during the day, why is one more proving so difficult?  You'd think I'd start keeping a general list to keep a steady supply of ideas to build on, repeat, shuffle through, tweak, and rant about.

I don't, by the way.  You're just getting me, every day, live and uncensored, unrestrained and full of emotion.

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