When I thought about different mid-Winter blog themes, I started with Valentine’s Day. Love! Charm! Cutesy themes came to mind. I looked up the history of St. Valentine’s hoping to base the blog around some fun facts. Thus I saw that Valentinius—if he was even a single person—was tortured and probably beheaded, leaving a note for a woman on the day of his execution signed, “Your Valentine.” This didn’t inspire me, so I moved on to loosely-linked predecessor holidays, like Lupercalia and Februa. Apparently these involved young women asking to be whipped with strips of leather to enhance their own fertility. I gave up on this line of thought entirely.
After considering a whole series of other topics that just didn’t fit my mood, I focused on the idea of happiness. What makes me happy? What makes my readers happy? Well, I may not know you, perhaps — but I do know me. And I asked myself: what moments in life would I relive if I could? Right now? Which were the most memorable? And the answer surprised me. Of course my time with family is always my richest—both at home and on special journeys and adventures which are too numerous to recount—but when I really think about times of unique memory, it’s the time spent alone in different places that leaps to mind. Not sightseeing, visiting, or exploring—but just existing.
Sitting alone on a California beach, ignoring the unanticipated chill. Writing a chapter while sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Walking through the rain to get a personal tour of 70s warning systems from a volunteer in Colorado Springs. Watching the sun set in Waikiki with a fresh natto roll. Being the only non-native at a Catholic fiesta in Albuquerque, and having the locals insist that I stay and enjoy a cob of corn and a dance. Standing on an antique sailboat gazing at the deep blue waters of Lake Superior. And so many more. I don’t travel too often, really, and so these memories are spread over many years. But they are bright in my mind, and each can be revisited, the sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells clear in my memory.
My husband and I love the song, Cool Change by Little River Band. “If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing, it’s the time that I spend alone.” It reminds us that life is short and unpredictable, and we should never miss our own special moments. We should find them, wherever we are. I can’t go to those places today, not in person. But I can stare at the stars. I can sit and relax as people I’ll never meet walk past. I can watch the snow flutter past or the clouds float by. And I can breathe, even if just for a minute.
That’s why I love to read fantasy. Fantasy transports us to another land, but without the need to set an agenda or find our way. We arrive, watch, and wait, as life happens around us – surprise, intrigue, and triumph. And then we return home, another memory captured.
I hope there will be more cool change to come. Maybe, with your help, I can travel this big, beautiful world and bring my stories to you. For now, I can dream about it, from my own little nook in Centerville, Ohio. I hope you will join me, just for a bit, in my place of dragons, wizards, and the undying spark of hope.
The second book of the Shkode trilogy, The Fettered Flame is up again this month on Kickstarter. I hope you’ll give it a look and let others know who might be interested. This little project has a special magic: it holds my heart, soul, and the hope that you will enjoy it.
And that’s all from Teirrah for today. See you around. – Cheers, E.D.E. Bell, 1 February 2016