William L. Hahn - Chronicler of the Land of Hope

Confessions of a Virgin Chronicler

{originally published on the Independent Bookworm site}

The Chronicler (found here)

Recently, July 4th 2011, my world went out live to yours.

I picked Independence Day here in the States for two excellent reasons. First off, back at the start of June I decided to launch my stories in e-pub, and I figured it would take about two weeks to prepare everything. And since I know I underestimate work by an order of magnitude, four weeks thus seemed about right. But I also picked it because, to a large extent, I can begin to be free now.

I’m going to ask you politely, dear reader, not to call me an author. Those wondrous people think up stories and write them out. They have imagination, they look upon the blank screen and shout “let there be plot!” and lo, the plot appears. Then they look upon that plot and see that it is good. And at some point, I presume, they rest.

And authors are free, damn them. They use their minds to create stories, and if they don’t like one, or if their readers don’t they can change their minds, and make up another.

But me… you need to be clear about this. You’re going to see what some might call a wealth of material in the days to come. I’m very pleased to have two stories ready to go and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did, well, observing them. There are so many more. There’s background material as well- history, culture, a bit of language, astrology, what residents of the Lands of Hope call religion- and I’ll be relating that along with some maps I’ve made to represent what I’ve… seen. You have no idea. I have enough to bury you. Telling the tale will almost certainly bury me.

But I did not make this up. Honestly- people who know me know my imagination’s not that good (though it has been stretched with the things I’ve witnessed). I just watch. And listen. And it all comes to me, just the way sights and sounds come to you. Not stories, plots, characters; I mean ALL of it: little kids complaining to their parents, debates over the use of poison, snatches of drinking songs, rituals to enchant weapons. The growls of unseen monsters, mountains higher than our ozone layer, two moons in polar orbit, and places where the darkness is so thick you can’t run through it. Way more than I can ever tell.

I don’t create. I sift.

And the Lands of Hope have chained me, for over thirty years since I first laid eyes on the place. I always laughed at the suggestions my friends would make, after a long session viewing the Land together: “You know, you should write this all up, it would be great!”. I wrote things down, sure- but ALL of it? Author the ocean a drop at a time? It was out of the question- and you dear reader, should never have heard of me. Maybe you’d be happier! I know how Froissart must have felt, and Thucydides, and whichever of the apostles got their disciple down to Kinko’s earliest, back in the first century A.D. To bear the burden of relating what actually happened, of potentially being the only source of information for posterity, is a prison cell. The mere fact that hardly anyone believes this world is real changes nothing. It’s still there. It’s still an entire world. Shoveling sand with a toothpick would be easier.

I cannot exactly explain how things shifted, only when- three years ago almost to the day, June 19-22 2008. I never stopped thinking the job was impossible. I still do. But I realized that I had to start.

Since then I’ve been pushing the rock like Sisyphus. Maybe someday I WILL author you the tale of how I tried to become what you now think me to be, a published author- it’s a tragi-comedy in three amusing acts, so far. The main point is that now the official start of publication is upon us. The tales will be told to the world. And I, like the chroniclers of old, can begin to feel free.

And I don’t know if Froissart or the others said the same thing, but I’m sure they felt this way too. “Be gentle with me- it’s my first time.”

-Wm. L. Hahn