Category Archives: Two-World Tuesday

The Faire-est of Them All? 2017 Review

I thought I should give a brief round-up of the times I got up from my desk, left my house and met someone in the context of my writing. And I start out with one item already on the to-do list for next year: don’t finish your activities before the calendar ends! I do have some rather serious distractions and am still seeking a better routine with more events on it for the future. Here’s how I did this year.

Bear Library Author Day: April 1st (no, seriously)

How Far: like, thirty yards.     How Often: many times before

The Sales:

One or two books. This was a panel for aspiring authors, where the ultra-prolific Liz Dejesus and the uber-poetic Shannon Connor Winward presented alongside myself for several hours.

The Tales:

I can’t lie, these panels are terrific fun because you get exposure to colleagues and how differently they feel as well as to aspiring writers from all angles. I could tell people walked out more energized from being around that atmosphere, and the staff at Bear Library really understand how to support the writing community.

Dover ComicCon: August 19th

How Far: one hour’s drive.     How Often: my second fair

The Sales:

This is the haymaker of live events for selling. Nothing an indie author needs that a raucous, well-organized convention of several thousand happy people can’t help fix. Perfect mix of cosplay, interest in heroism, lots of other items for sale, food, the whole nine yards. It’s by far the biggest load-out, complete with tent, three chairs and oh yeah- a family! But all worth it, sweltering heat or no. I had even better sales than the year before (which was also a record setter for that year). No question, the ComicCon is irreplaceable.

The Tales:

Probably the number one memory of the year was the several customers who marched up and said “where are the sequels”. Repeat sales in person, yeah that will boost the old self-esteem you betcha’. I helped run a panel with the indomitable L.S. King for over a dozen participants, and they kept us after with all kinds of questions, clearly very energized by what we said. My daughter Genna made a great impression with her Kermit outfit, while I eased off the full-wool Solemn Judgement look and just went a tad Renaissance for the day.

No way I would miss ComicCon.

Bear Library Author Day: September 23rd

How Far: like, thirty yards.     How Often: many times before

The Sales:

This time, bupkus.

The Tales:

A very cool day. I teamed once again with Liz Dejesus on a panel to a smaller group of very energized and interesting aspiring authors. I put up my bit on creating a killer first-line of a novel and I could see they enjoyed it a lot. This was one of those times I felt like we did some real good out there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a book or two come out in the next year or so from folks who attended (though we weren’t the only inspiration they had of course!)

Hockessin Art and Book Fair: November 4th

How Far: less than half an hour away.     How Often: my third fair

The Sales:

I moved several titles to new folks this year, but overall I had the impression that the Art vendors did better than the book folks. But I knew my fortunes were assured because my good friend Bernie Schmidt came up all the way from Virginia, AGAIN (he did it in 2015) to patronize the Tales of Hope, hauling away so many copies for himself and his family, I probably should have given him one of my bins. Seems unfair to count them as sales, when the motivation was so obviously friendship. But there’s no reason friends can’t be Children of Hope, and Bernie certainly has that down.

The Tales:

Chatting with my table-mate LS King came easily: once she had coffee I could hardly get a word in edgewise. Fellow epic author Dan Ford was at the booth right next door and I got to chat him up about several networking-type topics. This was the first year they had reading stages, for us to give a little excerpt of our work to folks at the food vendor-end of the room. The acoustics of all gyms are exactly the same, but it wasn’t terrible- those who wanted to hear us could. I have a video of my reading from Bernie, the start of “The Eye of Kog”, and I heard Dan and several others read their bits as well. I hope they continue that idea next year, maybe with a nice stand for the mike so we can turn pages without cursing.

Dover Library Author Day: November 11th

How Far: one hour’s drive.     How Often: first time event

The Sales:

I’m not gonna’ lie. Had some nice folks say hi, but that was about it.

The Tales:

Great chatting with the other authors, Liz and LS and several I had not met before from various walks of the writing universe. The library’s a good space with potential, but the traffic was all for the medical insurance sign-up they had going on at the same time, and people trying to get their kids on Obamacare weren’t terribly interested in laying down the green for an escape reading adventure. We did a panel that afternoon with about a half-dozen folks, mainly young people, and the questions were quite good.

Next Year, Gotta’ Do More

I’m targeting ComicCon, at least one round at the Bear Library, and I want to add First State ComicCon, CecilCon and Ocean City to the rounds if I can. That would be about as much as I think I could possibly take on as long as Genna’s in school and we have just the one car. I really love getting out to meet and chat with fellow authors and readers. Now if I could just score a radio appearance somehow…

State of the Lands: Memorials

Thou art wise to consider such a synthesis, Solemn. There are worlds aplenty, but only a single nature.

-Final Judgement, The Eye of Kog

It struck me while driving, like many worthy thoughts do. And that meant of course that I was doomed to forget and recall it many times, each round trip getting closer to permanent remembrance. How do we commemorate those we know, who we admire and want to emulate? There are many kinds of memorial, of course, but the first I think of are those carved in stone, in a field of many others, each with a few brief

Hope Cemetery VT

words burdened to somehow say it all. And it’s not always stone– sometimes you see “In Memory Of” on a dark wooden pew or fading in and out with the credits of a movie. But it’s almost always brief, here in the Alleged Real World: even when the medium is intended to last forever, the words take just a flicker of time, as if they were only a spark to kindle on the fuel of our recollection.

The Lands of Hope have none of these, not really. Some few, the heroes, are echoed in living devotion bordering on worship. For the rest, either someone remembers you or they don’t.

There is a narrow category of exception, though; the Children of Hope DO indeed memorialize at times, in very much the way we do. There are plaques commemorating the Battle of Tor Perite, and the discovery of Liftos Gas, the liberation of the Giant-siege of Stathos, the first bridge across the River Sweeping. You see the pattern? Events, great deeds of Hope are usually severed from

Just lighten up on the gas pedal awhile.
spokesrider.com

the persons who performed them. The Pious Warrior Yula won that battle and is duly mentioned in the inscription– hardly surprising, since he became Emperor of Argens as a result. The names of Able Patent and such are included on those others as well, toward the end. But not always, and never prominently. Succeeding generations of Hope are taught to attend to the act, not the actor.

But there’s another, tougher difference that needs mention here. One reason the Children of Hope do not dwell on the lives of those they erect plaques to celebrate is because in nearly every case, those lives are not yet over.

Hope does not memorialize the dead. At all.

To be honest, they don’t even much like thinking about death, because the Children of Hope haven’t had any guidance on what happens to them after they die. This is one of the chief reasons folks reject the Man in Grey: Solemn Judgement was not born in the Lands and since his father spent his last breath getting him there, Judgement is driven to find out whether death has a “sequel”.

Of course many of us share this need, and there is nothing at all wrong with marking the end of an earthly life. The Alleged Real World has an advantage in this, because many of us believe in a life after death. And also, we have a place, a natural spot set aside to create the memorial.

But in the Lands of Hope, loved ones are cremated, the ashes scattered. Only the Children of Despair put the bodies into the earth; the word kemetaria conjures horror, and the prospect of necromancy. When Feldspar explores Old Cryss in Fencing Reputation, he comes across a rare example of a surviving graveyard:

To my left in the nook of the next corner was a small area ringed with a low, two-foot fence of metal spikes; I caught only a glimpse of the irregular rows of stone markers within and turned my head away with a snap. I had heard the stories, but hoped like most children that this one wasn’t true. No such luck- they had really done it, those grand fools of long ago. So proud, so eager to show their spirit even in death, they had built a kemetaria, and allowed their bones to be put under the earth- an added challenge for their souls, to rise despite the odds and still attain heaven. Confident and sure, they had put their flesh into the ground, like the children of Despair. No wonder death had rained down on this place.

-Fencing Reputation

There may be other graveyards built by Hope, but very few (it was the passing fad of an Elvish nobility influenced in ways beyond their understanding by Despair). The colossal ancient kemetaria discovered by Solemn Judgement in The Eye of Kog was immediately destroyed by virtue of the miraculous lore he unearthed (quite literally) during his adventure there.

Point being, if you have no place to put the body, you tend to emphasize deeds during life instead of trying to summarize it at the end.

In the Lands, there are songs sung and stories told of great deeds, naturally; but not all of them are old or concerning folks who only lived long ago. Trekelny in Three Minutes to Midnight seems confident that there will be songs sung about his stupendous act of Stealth, and looks forward to hearing them himself. And yet, almost no person in the Lands knows what an epitaph is.

Here in the ARW, we’ve come to memorialize outside the graveyard, especially in places where people are likely to pass and see. Roadside memorials always make my heart drop, because I instantly know I’m looking at an unhappy ending. It’s a little like the graveyards have burst, and now spread among the living. But from what I see, the messages sometimes get longer, and are often uplifting or even hopeful. For those that are sad, I understand. It’s not usual to know a loved one has suddenly died and think “ah yes, they lived long enough”. No, it’s always too soon.

Stone Mountain Georgia, Confederate Generals a hundred feet high: Lee never wanted memorials to his war

One last thought comes to me, more triggering really but a difference that must be mentioned.

When the doer of a deed is alive to see the inscription, there’s a lot less monkeying around with their legacy.

But those long dead can have memorials erected that they did not aspire to, with messages twisted to suit a later generation. We are wrestling today with such a problem, trying to sift out the good from the bad like mixed grains of rice and wheat, and as a result some memorials will come down. If driven by justice, that will be good.

Better still, if we remember the virtue as well as the deed, as they do in the Lands. Let us tell the tale of each other’s glory, sing songs and keep the flame of those we admire alive. Surely what happened in life is of more value than the loss we feel on its passing.

A somewhat more joyous remembrance
Hope Cemetery