---Sadness is the main response I have to hearing that Robert Holdstock died suddenly today, after failing to fight off an E. Coli infection. Holdstock was a writer of deep matters who combined complex ideas and symbolism into his work. Mythago Wood, his most well-known work, was really a starting point for an extended literary meditation. I would have loved to see what else he was going to do with that.
---a snippet for WIP from my current story:
“You’re a Valley Boy,” First Jay said with a sneer. “Valley’s nice; don’t get the crickets much.” He swung his hawk at his side. “They don’t let other folks come around in times of trouble.”
West Wind shook his head. “The Valley is nothing now. They’ve given in to gluttony and envy. Hogtamer’s land now.” He tilted his head at First Jay’s scowl. “Nothing there for any of us now. Hogtamer's feasted it out.”
“And that’s why he’s coming here,” Third Jay said. The folks all turned to look at him. He fixed West Wind with his glaring white eye and lifted his staff a bit, let the tattered feathers and pieces of old flags shift in the breeze. “He’s on his creature of many backs headin’ this way.”
West Wind nodded. “And he’s not the only one.”
“Skull-face,” Little Kee whispered from the dust, and now everyone looked at her. She winced from the attention.
West Wind bent down towards her and inclined his chin. “Yep, true in one. He’s feeling the pinch and looking for new souls.”
---NPR did a story on fantasy fiction today, interviewing Jeff and Ann Vandermeer. It was fine, and it contained two good tidbits for further thought. The first was the idea of fantasy being a device for talking about things that could not be written out explicitly; the second, that all literature is, in some sense, fantasy. These are both compelling ideas for me. The latter has been a notion that I have contemplated a lot lately. I mean, all fiction is specifically a fantasy, a made-up story about things the author wants to describe to us. The grittiest mystery, the dourest contemporary tragedy, the flightiest romance are all fantasy tales. Unless you are just writing down exactly what you observe with no conjecture and no induction into a narrative, when you tell a story you are creating a fantasy. Some may have a stronger link to what they represent, but all are creations of the imagination as it makes sense of things, assigns meaning, and casts people and issues in a particular, subjective light.
I'd like to write more, but it is bedtime. Dream well, all!