Blood and Bloody Ashes

robert-jordan.jpg Some degree of autumn had fallen over Charlotte finally last night, and I spent the greater part of it scouring the northern part of the city for money in the form of pizza delivery tips. What, you didn’t think an indy book got published for free, did you? Anyway, I was out late, and it was when I began my usual internet perusal for the evening that I came across the bad news. It seems that the creator of the Wheel Of Time put down the mountain. Robert Jordan had died. It was a strange and immediate blow to the head. I, like many other fantasy readers of yesteryear, had virtually grown up on Jordan. Every few years (some less few than others), the man could be counted on to provide an absolutely riveting saga, self-contained in one overarching super-saga of a barely conceivable scale. It was, quite frankly, all that a detail oriented uber-geek could have asked for.

If I were to bother calculating the accumulated hours spent reading, re-reading, analyzing, pondering over, and discussing the dizzying variety of the series’ aspects, both by myself and with others, I would probably come up with a percentage of time expended in my youth comparable to a ‘Star Wars’ related figure.

And that run-on sentence should tell you more than anything else about the matter. To put it in the off-color vernacular: Robert Jordan was the shit, and it’s a shame he’s gone. He had a capacity for epic storytelling that informed (and still does) almost every aspect of my own writing, especially as relates to character development. He was the first writer to show me what a story COULD be, even in concept. And all the different things it could mean if you let it. It’s a rare accomplishment for any story, or series of stories, to deal with any human experience to a truly enlightening degree. The Wheel Of Time did so with many human experiences. Some have argued it damn near addressed them all. Future generations are going to come to learn him like Tolkien, most likely. One day I’ll be able to say I briefly shook his hand.

Eye Of The WorldAnd yet, I can’t bring myself to be sad. Just a little awed. What Robert Jordan wrote will outlast his presence on this world for hundreds of years or more. The tale he crafted, incomplete or not, is going to stand out and inspire generations of readers and writers for long after his original fans get themselves re-spun by the Wheel. He left this world something that may come to touch millions, if it hasn’t already. Any writer would do well to hope for a tenth as much. Perhaps one day, the Wheel will spit me out again, and I can come to see the results of a world three thousand years after The Wheel Of Time was first committed to print. Perhaps we all will, including Mr. Jordan. For now, I’ll leave you with my favorite Aiel proverb:

“Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again.”

Tai’shar Charleston.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle

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