A Good Fantasy

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Drogon, take me away.

There was this hippie dude back in the early 80s when I was in college, one of many older guys (anyone past twenty-seven) who pursued philosophy degrees part-time and tried to hook up with each new crop of freshmen girls. I doubt if this particular guy had much luck in that department considering his Bilbo Baggins appearance complete with pot belly, meerschaum pipe, and puffs of frizz crowning his bald pate (hey, you never know.) I don’t recall his name but I do remember he always wore the same faded t-shirt with an illustration of a dragon next to which were emblazoned the words: “I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy.”

This is exactly my creed as annus horribilis comes to a close. The stress of reading the “reality” of news stories has left me in shatters. One more article about my favorite actor digitally penetrating an unwilling someone thirty years ago will break me. One more smug shot of Trump making that hand gesture will send me to the loony bin. So I seek refuge in fantasy, particularly George (not your bitch) R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice books, where murder, rape, incest, and torture is so much more palatable than reading about these topics in the Daily Mail.

I was late coming to Game of Thrones, but now after binge watching the entire oeuvre last year and just completing book two, I’m officially obsessed. I’ve found in fantasy the catharsis of watching my enemies burn with dragon fire when in real life I’m stuck with platitudinal memes extolling my self-worth in the face of “toxic friends.”

Now that my Wattpad writing career has taken off (The Ghosts of Dark Hollow is now featured on the site and gaining a little following), I’m considering trying my hand at the fantasy genre. To prepare for that feat, I’m checking out sword and sorcery tomes from the library and vowing to finally finish Lord of the Rings this year. Of the sixty-seven books I read this year (according to Goodreads) only seven were fantasy. I vow to change that in 2018 as well as read all those “fucking George Martin books.”

Fantasy definitely helps me deal with reality. Bring on the dragons.

 

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Better Late in the Game…

…Than Never in the Game

Early in the new year,  I was having dinner with friends whom I adore, and it was something about their ecstatic, tandem eye rolls and Oh, my Gods! over the latest season of Game of Thrones that finally convinced me to let go of my resistance and start watching from the beginning. In a few months I had binged my way through the series. And yeah, I’m hooked. Another friend recommend I read the book(s)–ugh! I’m not one to read those doorstopper, fantasy series, but before I knew it I had ordered the expensive, illustrated hardcover GOTs, and today (after taking several breaks to read other books) I finally finished the first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, and even though I knew it was coming from watching the show, I was blown away by its operatic, pyromaniacal, dragon birthing climax!

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The book definitely helped me understand the series, and vice versa. as everyone familiar with the series knows, there are many characters to keep straight, and a lot of (ahem) ground to cover. I was grateful for the map many times. But despite the story’s complexities, Martin’s concise writing style and dimensional characters are tethered to a clear logic within the realm of fantasy, so that by the end of the book I really did believe in dragons. I think that’s the key to success in this genre. The world Martin builds works because its opulent impossibilities ride tandem with strict laws and codes, brewed in a cauldron of the most extreme human passions, all of them grounded in reality.

Strange Magic

Continue reading “Better Late in the Game…”

The Storm

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The Storm

by R. Saint Claire

Sheets of ocean pierced by Titans
Channeled on Leviathan's back,
Swells and lolls, crests and heightens,
Mounting Sky’s sulphuric crack.

In black, the mad widow divining
From the shore, among the wrack,
A golden sphere from her hand is shining,
Sparkling remnants of the heart she gave.
Tonight--at last her stars aligning--
She’ll lie within his watery grave.

Pitstop in Prydain

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Original cover design by Evaline Ness

While working my way through my Gothic Literature Reading Challenge, I was replacing a book on my library shelf when my hand came to rest on a group of books I had pilfered a few years ago from a local library sale: the Chronicles of Prydain children’s books by Lloyd Alexander. Beloved by kids from my generation and beyond, the story of Taran and friends has always held a special place in my heart. The series consists of five books and if you don’t know them, I highly recommend them for kids and adults. Continue reading “Pitstop in Prydain”

Love Sonnet

 

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LOVE SONNET
by R. Saint Claire

Bright twinkle of stars and warmth of the sun,
Flotillas of clouds in Heaven’s fresh air,
Dark battles through which the brave hero becomes,
To all things amazed my lover compares.

The moon’s pale mystery, the change in the tides,
And sands in the hourglass’ turns in a day,
That cause shallow men from Love’s duty to hide,
Shall never convince my bold lover to stray.

Sweetest dwelling never leased, but owned,
His key in the lock of my chamber remains.
A palace or hovel--his love is my home.
My heart’s true passion’s my lover’s domain.

These things I swear ‘bout my love and I do:
As Heaven above him, my lover is true.

 

The Red Tower

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In the Red Tower
The planes mature
To a dance that beats
Red sausage links and iron ore.

In the Red Tower
Flames shoot from the stack, 
Fire white hot at the top, 
Black in the cracks.

In the Red Tower
A dragon wails
A song so sad, such simple pain that none
(Maybe just the sea urchins) Understand.

The madder-heart,
With each bump it bleeds,
Runs into the ancient stones, and
Dies in agony, slowly and alone. 
Forked tongued forgiveness 
Wanting only for a friend,
A pat, a snuggle,
An “I understand.”

The black smoke bleeds
From the Red Tower—
Righteous respite,
But only for the gods.
Earth shifting,listing,
Leaning to the left, 
As crows swarm on the edge then dive 
Into the black.

What time to make the stones and legends dance!

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