>Tales That Shaped
>I was reading Roland’s blog post this morning…and I became ensnared, caught up in the idea of books, characters, traits, meaningfulness….I believe he is something Other. He infuses words with imagery and ideals, weaving them together with a kind of magic that draws out of us those things we don’t acknowledge, causing us to stare, dumbstruck, at our own apparent, but untapped, magic, instilling a desire to create, to weave, to see…and to look back and find those words that have, in the past, shaped and changed us. Here is a short list of books, characters and traits that have shaped and inspired me. I don’t know how much sense it makes…I’m not thinking, just listening to that inner me and writing raw…
Kitty Boss woke me up at 5:30 this morning. She was hungry. Animals are honest in their actions and emotions. They have a simple, straightforward dignity/integrity all their own. And they forgive. Quickly. Kitty Boss has forgotten the time I accidentally left her outside all night in the cold. She’s forgotten the time I stepped on her and she still loves us even though we take her to that scary place filled with noise and strangers who poke, prod, and smell like lots of other animals strange and foreign to her. She forgives me the times she wants to play and I don’t. One could dismiss all this and say cats (and other animals) are just simple, dumb beasts. In fact, studies show that animals are keenly intelligent and have a wide range of emotions. Dean Koontz’s Einstein, a Golden Retriever, is a character that I love. He also breaks my heart and inspires me. He’s intelligent, self sacrificing, comical, and he has honor. He fights for the ones he loves, even though his opponent (I won’t say enemy-Einstein understands that the one he must fight is a victim as much as he is) is much larger and more powerful and will likely kill him.
Thomas Covenant is a leper, an outcast feared and reviled in his hometown. Vigilance keeps him healthy, but the stigma taints and twists the perceptions of the townspeople, and his wife. There were many things I learned in this double trilogy from Stephen R Donaldson. One was redemption wasn’t just for the ‘only slightly bad people.’ Thomas was not always a good person. A truism that stays with me even today-(paraphrased) ‘The only way to hurt someone who has lost everything, is to give them back something broken.’ Man, that’s truth. The play on Thomas’ name. We can doubt-everything and everyone, and still keep our promises. We can doubt our abilities and strength, and still stand and fight for what is good. We can doubt that we have anything whatsoever to offer, and still give everything we have. We can doubt that we have a purpose or place in this life and still be the only one who can do what must be done. We can believe we can’t go another step and still be the one who goes before. I read these in high school when life was particularly difficult and the story, Thomas in particular, resonated with me. Spoiler warning!!!! Skip to the next paragraph if you intend to read these and haven’t!!!!! When the author killed Thomas, I couldn’t breathe. I mourned for two weeks. I slept with the book at night, the one you see here. Thomas, broken, fallible, hopeless/ful Thomas, was dead. I hated Donaldson for a long time. I eventually learned that death could be a character, too.
The Dragonlance Chronicles weren’t just a rip-roaring homage to Tolkien. This series was, to me, a grown-up, darker version of LOTR. Good and evil weren’t so cut and dried, black and white. The good guys were flawed and the bad guys, namely Raistlin, were some of the best characters. Raistlin and Tasslehoff were my favorites. Tass because he was innocent (even if he was a thief) and childlike (he was a Kender…). Everyone dismissed him but he proved his worth in lots of small ways, and once, in a really huge way. His innocence also reflected the deceit in others. But Raistlin is by far my favorite. I always imagined him as the David Bowie from Labyrinth. He was intelligent, conflicted, sickly, angry, and not always a nice person. But there were glimpses into his soul…and I had to believe he could be saved. He was powerful enough to take on the Dark Goddess….and win. He proved to his doubters and friends that he was indeed, the most powerful mage who ever lived, in spite of all his frailties. But his soul had become empty, filled only with ambition-and the world that was born from that soul was chaos. As he looked into the future and beheld the destruction and devastation that would be his creation, he surrendered to the Dark Queen, knowing that for eternity, she would punish him thoroughly and brutally. In the end, death played a part. Death brought Raistlin redemption.
These are some of the books that have shaped not only my reading preferences, but what I admire and hope for-in myself and my characters. Hope. Honor. Wisdom. Determination. Forgiveness. Redemption. What books/characters have shaped you?