>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?


About CuriousCat

I love to learn new things-anything from how to create a junk journal to the way light moves through space; why cats present their behinds to us to the effects of chemicals on our endocrine system. If it interests me, I can spend hours reading and learning about it.

Posted on July 11, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. >What a beautiful post. Thank you. I haven't read any of these books but you homage makes me feel like I have. Beautiful.~Oliviathat rebel with a blog

  2. >You write better raw than most folks do cooked :-). This was a terrific post. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  3. >i agree with mary. the first book that i mourned for was "fall on your knees" by anne marie macdonald (heart-wrenching and disturbing at times)… thanks for sharing these wonderful works! i love hearing how they've inspired you.

  4. >'The only way to hurt someone who has lost everything, is to give them back something broken.' That line haunted me for years after I read it. I think it still does when I'm feeling depressed. I fell in love with Thomas Covenant in the first book, when he was at his worst, and have never lost my passion for his character. I love a wounded soul . .I enjoyed WATCHERS also – I think that was the novel that got me hooked on Dean Koontz. But I haven't read the Dragon Lance series, though I do like other books by the author-duo. Its been on my to-be-read list for years (sighs).I feel the same as you do regarding Rolands posts; they are so inspiring, and I dislike having to miss some with my busy work schedule. But I always feel better after visiting his blog.I'll be seeing you around WordCrafter. So very nice to make your acquaintance……….dhole

  5. >*Olivia-thank you. These are very old friends…*Mary-that's very sweet, thanks! *with a grin**Carla-I don't know that book; I'll have to look it up, and thanks!*Donna-it's a treat to meet someone else who knows Thomas and Einstein! Cool! The Dragonlance Chronicles were the Duo's first set. One of them said they wrote it because (paraphrased) "…there's nothing to read since Tolkien…" They're the books that started the whole shebang-I hope you find time to check them out. Thanks for stopping by and it's nice to meet you.

  6. >Great post, The Words Crafter! I am going to definitely pick up Donaldson's books about Thomas, I think I can relate to those most out of the three you recommended. As for Dean Koontz, I have several of his books on my TBR list. I rather enjoyed his THE HUSBAND and VELOCITY. I want to read his Odd Thomas books, but I'm currently busy reading others. So many books, so little time. As for character's that inspired me, I guess Stu from Stephen King's The Stand and the members of the Loser's Club from Stephen King's IT. Also, Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I felt for Oskar's loss and sense of adventure; it was a really touching book. Write on and read on!

  7. >*Vatche-the first Odd Thomas is my favorite and I loved Velocity. My writer friend (Co-Teacher's son) and my Director have both read The Stand and highly recommend it, as well as It. TBR!!! I haven't heard of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I looked it up and wow, it looks great. Another TBR! You're right-so many books, so little time!

  8. >Thanks so very much for the kind words about my blog, Words Crafter (I call you that because it makes you sound like a character from THE LORD OF THE RINGS.)If you fell in love with Einstein from THE WATCHERS, you'll also fall in love with Orson, a similarly enhanced dog, in FEAR NOTHING and SEIZE THE NIGHT by Dean Koontz. I loved them so much I paid too much to get autographed copies of them both.Then, I found an illustrated slip-covered autographed edition of FEAR NOTHING. Ughhhh! But the cover : In the midst of billowing fog,Orson protecting his owner from the closing circle of artificially enhanced rhesus monkeys.Wow. I had to have it.Christopher Snow understands the night. He, like the owl, is nocturnal, living on the mysterious darker edge of society. Snow is afflicted with xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare and often-fatal genetic disease that makes ultraviolet rays-even those from lamps and televisions-deadly. His condition makes him a pariah in the isolated small town of Moonlight Bay where the ignorant and insensitive fear what they do not know. As the action begins, Snow's father dies, leaving him with only a handful of offbeat but fiercely loyal friends to turn to for understanding. At the morgue, Snow accidentally witnesses his father's body being replaced with the mutilated corpse of a vagrant. Before he can find out what is behind this scandal, he receives a frantic summons from a friend who is brutally murdered before she can finish explaining a strange story about monkeys and a secret project at the government compound at the edge of town. What begins as a disturbing puzzle quickly becomes a sinister conspiracy as Snow uncovers evidence of uncanny intelligence in many of the local animals and inhumanely vicious tendencies in some of the human residents of the Bay. They are "becoming" he learns, but becoming what? Chilling chase scenes steadily increase the breakneck pace as Snow, assisted by his remarkable dog,Orson, is pursued through the night by unseen forces.I highly recommend FEAR NOTHING.Thanks again for the lovely words. It meant a lot seeing them unexpected like this when I visited, Roland

  9. >What a cool entry. Everyone says I should read Koontz (I'm a Steven King gal) Do you have any other recommendations?And for me, it was a movie that started me and so many works of fiction after that has brought me here. That movie was Close Encounter of the Third Kind. I was just a little kid and my folks had bought our first VHS player. I haven't stopped looking up at the heavens since or stopped believing in humanity even after seeing the worst of it. The first book came long after. S.E. Hinton was required reading in school(The Outsiders, Tex, etc.) and I remember reading the works of the then teenage girl who picked up a pen and published so young and thought to my self…I can do that!Cool post!

  10. >…reading this post caused me to smile. Roland's poetic words do tend to inspire, and its high time an agent takes notice.Along with the above characters of which I'm familiar with most, I'm obliged to throw Odd Thomas's name into the hat. I've read the series by Koontz and give each book the highest of praise:) If only Dean could pen something with both Orson from Fear Nothing, and Odd as his partner in crime…oh my:)

  11. >What a lovely blog post. I especially like your description of the last book – I liked David Bowie's character in Labyrinth (even if flawed) and the comparison alone is enough to make me think I will have to seek this book out. And a darker LotR isn't bad at all!Writing raw is a good thing. Refinement can come later, if needed, but raw spills from the heart.

  12. >*Roland-*wry grin* I'm flattered and touched-am I a good guy or bad? I read both Snow books, but it's been so long ago, I barely remember. Now, I'm gonna have to go out and get new copies. I'd forgotten about Orson!!!! He's supposed to write a third installment…but he got caught up in Odd. I hope he does go back and give us another adventure with the Snowman. And, no kindness involved. Just truth. Scout's honor. *Nicole-I LOVED Close Encounters!!! Several people got a huge career boost (and reboot) from that film. Shamefully, I have never read a single S E Hinton novel. (Yikes!) Koontz to read: Lightning, Watchers, Fear Nothing (Thanks, Roland, for reminding me!) Cold Fire, Odd Thomas, Dark Rivers of the Heart, Hideaway…that should start you out pretty well. Oh, Strangers, too. Let me know if you do read any and what you think.*Elliot-I AGREE!!! You're pretty gifted yourself, btw. I loved your post about teaching your son to read (did you get my message? It's on a post that starts 'From Nicole…' yeah, I gave you the same award she did, lol! I love Odd. I've forgotten Orson! I can't believe it! I need to reread those asap. *Jayne-loved Labyrinth! Bowie was so cool in it and I loved the music, too. Haunting. If you get the books, start with Dragons of Autumn Twilight. They're pretty great!

  13. >Needless to say…I haven't read anything since the last H.P. book.You have done a great job letting me 'peek' into the books you wrote about here. I'm honest enough with myself to know that I'll most likely never read them, which I think is 'unfortunate' for me.

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