Normally today I would blog about what I am up to. You know post a day book which would give you an update on my life, some of my thoughts, share in my adventures through this thing called life. But this morning I woke with many thoughts bouncing around in my head. Bouncing so loudly that I could tell they all needed a chance to be heard. A chance to be followed before they were once again lost into the knotted mess they were. To understand this you should image a yarn stash, much like mine was last week. A mixture of lovely colors and fibers all jumbled together in one heap. Skeins so twisted up that they had to be wound into balls (sadly not cakes, yarn cakes are so easy to work with). Half started projects had to be frogged so the yarn could once again be wound together and carefully organized so that the next time I go to my stash I can easily find what yarn I want and start a new project. That is how my brain feels today. And there are so many topics that are all interwoven together that this may take some time, and probably several posts.
The first thing you should know is that I read a lot. Not only am I generally the kind of person who burns through books but I have a tendency to read more then one book at a time. Right now I have 8 books on my currently reading list over at good reads. But not only do I read a lot I also love literature. It is possible that my love of story was the seed that became my desire to write my own stories. But this love of literature also brought me to a place where I thought about what I read, I wanted to know why I liked something, why I didn't like something, and how did the story teller do it. This was spurred on when I started collecting classic literature books. You see when you go to Barnes and Noble and get any of their printings of classic books you also get essays written by people who spend their lives studying this author, this book. I love these essays the let me peek behind the curtain and see what it is that Jane Austen is doing. I love reading the book to enjoy the masterpiece of the magician but then I also want to search out the strings to find a deeper meaning behind what they are doing.
This has led me to four (so far) amazing and intelligent men. They each host a website where they talk about literature, specificity fantasy. Dr. Corey Olsen is a professor at Washington College he runs the Tolkien Professor website and pod cast where he talks about taking a close look at the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Then there is Travis Prenzi who runs the Hogshead website and pod cast where he talks about taking Harry Potter seriously, and John Granger who is the Hogwarts Professor and runs a website by the same name. Lastly there is Reggie Gates who hosts the pod cast All about C.S. Lewis. If you love fantasy you should take a look at these guys. Between the three of them they talk about it all.
Particularly Travis Prinzi and John Granger are the spark for this mulch-layered, multicolored, knot of yarn. This week I got to a conversation Travis and John did on Hog's Head Pubcast about Literary Alchemy. (part I, II and III) Now I am a sucker for anything about the underlining structures of a piece of art. In my mind the foundations and structures that hold up the artistic masterpiece are what allows it to be a masterpiece. This may come from watching my Dad, Grandfather, and Uncle build the foundation and walls that would be come my home. I know what work went into making that house the beautiful home that it was and still is. So when Travis said that they were going to be talking about this thing that I had heard and seen mention of when it comes to Harry Potter I was hooked.
However I was not prepared for what thoughts it would spark by the time I finished my second listen though and a brief searching for what literary Alchemy is. How much it would make me rethink the structure of my own current work in progress; about how postmodern, modern, and premodern all reached critic and inform each other; about the struggle between materialism and spiritualism; and how all of these play out in several currently read, enjoyed, rejected, criticized, and acclaimed works: Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Inheritance Cycle.
How is that for an introduction? The question with every knot is to figure out where to start. Imagine for a moment the way Bilbo sits for a moment at his writing desk contemplating where to start. I would start with a summary of what the conversation was about, but that would lead me on at least as many tangents as these two gentlemen go on in the conversation. Let me take a moment to refill my coffee cup and clear my thoughts.