“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
Charles Bukowski


Well, here it is: Christmas Eve. While I am sure that there are Druid and Pagan holidays that line up with today, I am relating more to Scrooge! Cold, huddled over my computer, enjoying being a recluse. It is a good thing that I have a family that loves me.

Fantasy novels and simply fiction proper have shaped my ideas of being a Druid. It fits me so well in the World of Warcraft that I layer my own imagination on top of what the game provides.

My introduction to Fantasy was a surprising tangent from Science Fiction (another beast entirely) and once induced, I blazed though everything. The fun thing about Fantasy is that an author can take things from history and also add ideas.

I am a Reader. Not a reader. A Reader always has a book percolating, sometimes several at once. What I like about it, when talking about books, is that other Readers can not resist adding by saying “you should read this”.

Once upon a time a trilogy was a surprise and not the norm. They’d more often publish a big fat book! Think of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King — that bad boy would have been a trilogy in more modern times; three clear divisions in the story.

Early fiction in the Fantasy genre was pretty good. The book HAD to be good to be published on paper, bound and boxed, hoping to be sold. Editors were an influence and we are amused today when we read about classics that took years and years to be bought and published.

The rules then were not really rules but you could feel it. While there was magic and dragons and gods-on-earth, the world was pre-steam engine. The highest technology might be the Water Wheel by a river, grinding wheat. I liked it; the lone mage on a mountain pony fighting the Big Bad and using his magic staff as a powerful jousting weapon.

Then came “easy publishing”. Word Processors and software and printers and the internet and electronic readers made it easy to by-pass the Editor and even the publishing house. Our world is now a-flood with unbridled writing.

Those Unbridled Writers are trying to make a mark and so break the rules. Steam Punk, for example. Alternate Universes allowing machine guns in ancient times. Time travel is popular. Amazon is not a filter for quality, it is merely a delivery system; happy to take a cut from the profits.

How can anyone, waist deep in available books, find that well-written story?

A few years ago, I walked into a Bookstore. Standing there, facing me inside the store was the store’s Greeter: a woman. Dressed in Punk Chic, hands on hips, she had an aura of Haughty Attitude and confronted me immediately.

She: Don’t tell me. You are here for Fifty Shades of Grey.
Me: What?
She: Everyone is buying it, it is not even good porn!
Me: Good porn?
She: It pisses me off that everyone is buying that cheap crap.
Me: What?
She: Well, it’s over there in that stinking pile.
Me: I’m here for the poetry of Charles Bukowski. Do you sell red ribbons? It will be a gift for a good friend.
She: Oh.
Me: Which way?
She: Let me take you over there, sir. Down this aisle.

My ideas of playing a Druid in WoW were shaped by White and Mary Stewart and Ursula K. Le Guin. Spilling a little wine from your cup on the ground “to the gods” as tribute and respect. Ancient connections that are turned and twisted like a well-tied knot. Runes!

Like Scrooge, I sit and grump at the writers now who have betrayed the trust and are trying to make their mark in the world. Unbridled and without an Editor. Harrumph! So talented with ideas that they don’t practice the technique of writing! My blind eye!

I think I’ll visit the Ghost of Christmas Past and read The Mists of Avalon for this holiday.



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