Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roses at the Beach - Photo Shoot

Last Sunday we grabbed some costumes and props (mainly some gorgeous roses) and went to Golden Gardens on the Sound to take photos.  I did a romantic sort of get-up and M did steam-punk.  My sister, N, and other friend, S, didn’t want to do the fantasy thing, so they wore more normal clothes.  It was really cold – I was fine in all my layers but that bluish skin on my sister – it wasn’t just the light!  Sadly, my camera was on the wrong setting for a while so the picture of me came out too dark – but then we figured it out and the rest were much better.


Roses at the Beach

"I must go down the the sea again..."

Across the sea

M dreaming

On some distant shore

S laughing at the cold

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind

Patrick Rothfuss
Daw (2007)

When I was given The Name of the Wind I felt a little bit daunted by its length.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy long books, but I have tried to read too many (fantasy) books that are massively long without having good enough pacing, plot and simplicity (or complexity) to sustain the page count.  I was very pleasantly surprised with The Name of the Wind.  Rothfuss has created a fascinating, complex world and an interesting and nuanced set of characters with which he deftly spins into a story that is at times humorous, sad, exciting, unexpected and always engrossing.

The book consists of multiple layers of stories – in the present the protagonist Kvothe tells the story of his life to the Chronicler who has come to coax it out of him.  This present is infused with a sense of gathering gloom as demonic creatures are discovered to be reemerging and tales of strange happenings filter down into the little village where Kvothe is tending an inn.  As his history unfolds, the mysterious layers of Kvothe’s life begin to emerge.  He is recognized at the beginning as a myth – a man who has faced the strangest things in the world, who is a magician, actor, musician, begger, storyteller and many more things just hinted at.  Perhaps it is this voyage of discovery that makes the tale so compelling.  Rothfuss carries the reader along in the creation of a legend, showing us at once how the life of this mythic character is far more mundane and yet just as astonishing and magical as the tales that are told of it.

Layered within the story of Kvothe’s life are legends of the world he lives in, and like his life sometimes they hold more truth than they seem, while other times they are illusions built upon an ordinary base.  They are interwoven so skillfully that I never lost track of what story I was in or how they were relevant to each other.

At times Kvothe seemed to know a little too much of everything – and, perhaps, given his dishonest tendencies, maintains the moral high-ground with too little effort.  Additionally, his love interest Denna, was a little too unreachable for me.  She was one of those female characters that fascinate the male character with her distance and elusiveness.  She is the flesh and blood personification of Dulcinea: “she’s made of flame and air,” and as such, she is too easy to idolize and doesn’t provide any counterpoint to Kvothe’s fantasy of her.  She could very well be all in his head, which might make her more compelling than as an intangible free-spirit with hints of tragedy about her.  However, this book is only the first in a trilogy and so there is still a chance for her character to become more fully realized in herself, and not just as a object of desire for Kvothe.

The next book, The Wise Man’s Fear, is coming out at the beginning of March, and Patrick Rothfuss will be in Seattle, at the University Bookstore.  My housemate, M, and I are planning on going to hear him talk.  I am eager to discover the next installment of this compelling story.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Submit to The Amber Grimoire

The online Fantasy Journal, which I started last year with my writing group and some other friends, is looking for submissions for our next issue.  The deadline is March 1 and the theme for the Summer Issue is “The Wild Wood.”  We are looking for poetry, short stories, art and book reviews.  Go to Submissions for more information or check out our first issue "Genesis."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Finished Eonia

  This week I finished my fourth country "encyclopedia" entry and short story.  The country is called Eonia and is based loosely on Greek and other ancient Mediterranean cultures.  The rough draft of the short story "The Amulet of Aranos" has taken me longer than I would have liked, mostly because I wrote it going in one direction and then when I shared it with my lovely writing group, Phantasme, the ladies there pointed out the direction that I should be going, or I seemed to want to go.  Of course they were right, so I went back and did a massive rewrite, and then a less massive rewrite, and am finally ready to share it with them again.
  I will be continuing to edit and refine "The Amulet of Aranos" but I am also going to begin my next country next week.  It is a north-eastern country in Idhua - just about directly across the continent from the first country I did, Lendhlay.  It is as yet nameless; I had a name for it that no longer fits, so I am going to have to think about that for a while.  Here is a map of Idhua with the finished countries shaded in: