Uncertainty is a killer – so is inactivity

Thought #1: Me and the Examiner.  Not.  I’ve made my decision to publish infrequently in order to keep my webpages active, but I’m at a standstill.  What’s next, you think?  What direction I am headed in now?  Resounding silence from my creative spirit.  Of course.

Thought #2: I just looked at a site which compiled hundreds of freelance writing gigs.  I was immediately exhausted.  Totally exhausted.  One look, and you’d understand what I mean.

Thought #3: Why does there have to be a 2-week hiatus until the next Once Upon a Time episode?  They’re torturing us fans with suspense and longing over here. (loud growls from fellow spectators)

Thought #4 (a big one):  What do they mean, they don’t want any outside ideas for Merlin?  One of the best TV shows out there today and they won’t even consider new scriptwriters or even stupendous ideas for the plot!  Like mine, for example.

Now that Arthur and Gwen are married (thank you, season 4), the romantic spotlight has to be shifted significantly on either Merlin or the Knights of the Round Table.  First idea: Gwen has a job opening.  For a lady-in-waiting/servant.  Well, she was Morgana’s servant for years, after all.  And if Arthur has Merlin, why couldn’t Gwen have a lady-in-waiting?  After all, someone else needs to find out about Merlin’s secret, provide some sort of romantic touch to the story.  Perhaps this mysterious new female figure could be Merlin’s romance?  No worries about royal status.  She even become friends with Merlin and Gaius, be interested in magic.

From left to right: Guinevere, Gaius, Morgana,...
From left to right: Guinevere, Gaius, Morgana, Merlin, Arthur, and Uther

Or if this new girl turns out to be another traitor like Agravaine, we could look to the knights for an uplift.  Gawaine is pretty famous for his part in the Arthurian legend about Lady Ragnell.  I can totally see Merlin‘s Gawaine forced to marry an enchanted beastly woman on a matter of honor and then find true love when the spell is broken through the right actions of his own just heart.  Or what about Tristan?  Is he going to become a Knight of Camelot?  Don’t forget Mordred.  Not only does he know Merlin’s secret and his secret identity, he’s friends with Morgana.  Even in the “original” legends, Mordred spelled trouble in bold, big letters.  Then there’s the matter of the baby girl dragon, and Lancelot’s death.  I’ve been thinking about how Merlin deviates from the basics of many Arthurian legends but sticks to the true fundamentals, like how Merlin’s weakness is his compassionate heart or how Arthur’s weakness is his tendency to trust people too deeply and surely.  It’s a great show.  Season 5 is going to be big.  But I still want to be a part of Merlin somehow.  Despite the indirect rejection.  Because I have a LOT of great ideas for it.  Hmph.

Thought #6:  I really have to start thinking seriously about the novels I want to write.  Creating sub-plots for a TV show are just the tip of the iceberg that is my creativity wanting to break out and melt over my mind.  I have awesome ideas (well, they are!) for a Helen of Troy story intertwined with the Iliad and the Odyssey stories and another for retelling the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades.  I know the finished product could be splendid if I work hard.  I just don’t want to mess up, or worse, find out that I’m no novelist, just some pathetic review writer.  I want to be able to create.  Creating something of that magnitude, like a book, is as momentous as child-bearing.  You’re creating new life, a new world.  You’re building a brand-new door that other people, including yourself, will be able to open forever and see into your mind, your soul, and the souls of the characters you’ve resurrected or brought to life.  It’s magnificent, that feeling of being and making and modeling…art brings a sense of purpose to a person.  It’s…magnetizing.  But I have to get over my fears and try…at least brainstorm.  And who knows…maybe once I start, I won’t be able to stop.

Thought #7: I’m done thinking and analyzing for now.  I want to read.  Maybe write.  Thanks again, NetGalley, for thrilling new reads currently unpublished. 😉

Natalie Gorna

Randomness

I’ve re-reading my last blog entry and thinking about what I should write here.  Nothing has changed since I published those words of anger against the Examiner…their “Review Team” is still rejecting my work for their own discriminatory reasons.  Discrimination…it happens to me and my mom everyday.  Seriously.  And there is no worse feeling in the world than complete helplessness.

Anyway, aside from my personal life…I’m moving upwards on my book list.  i’ve already read 20 books so far in 2011.  Long novels, short books, you name it.  I finally got the chance to watch season 3 of the British TV series Merlin online, and I am currently debating whether to re-post my Examiner review of the series here on my blog.  It will be edited, of course.  We’ll see.  Otherwise…I try to drown the sound of my own pain with favorite music on Grooveshark.  Life is not good so far.

Natalie Gorna

Add ‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ to your reading list!

The five volumes of "The Chronicles of Prydain"
All five volumes (older editions) in Lloyd Alexander's series, "The Chronicles of Prydain"

I have a question for you.  How many of you have heard of The Chronicles of Prydain, a fantasy series similar to The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series?  Hmmm…almost no positive acknowledgement.  Okay…another question.  How many of you have heard of Lloyd Alexander, a prolific modern author of books for all ages?  WHAT?  I thought so.

Whenever I ask anyone personally these two questions, it’s usually older generations who favor me with an enthusiastic response and a list of their favorite novels by Alexander.  My generation…5 out of 5 people I ask so far give me a blank stare if I even mention Lloyd Alexander’s name.  This is most unfortunate, because this particular author has penned many truly fantastic works.  The Chronicles of Prydain are his most famous series, and perhaps the masterpiece of his lifetime’s creations.  It’s a five-volume series, but every volume has helped me to fall completely in love with literature, especially fantasy fiction, and spurn me on the path to being a hopeless bookworm.  I would like to remind all fantasy fiction lovers that an interesting and propelling reason to just try The Book of Three (volume#1) is that Alexander’s mythical series is somehow an anachronistic cross between The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.  Is this bad news if you’re anti either of the series I just named?  No, because you don’t have to make these connections, counting the fact that the last volume in The Chronicles of Prydain was published more than 25 years before J.K. Rowling submitted her first manuscript.  As for Tolkien, he was British, and Alexander was not.  Apart from some particular similarities and a definite Celtic aura, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Prydain were (and still are) truly oceans apart in content and storyline construction.

Okay, the analogies/similarities:

  1. Taran, the main character and hero of The Chronicles of Prydain, is an orphan just like Harry Potter, having escaped a premature death and destined to defeat an ancient evil.
  2. No matter how evil Voldemort is as an antagonist, winning top spot in fantasy lit. as a super-villain, Arawn (the Lord of Death) can match him in despicable deeds and hiring merciless, cruel mercenaries.  Arawn is Taran’s fiercest enemy, and he must die in the end (so says “The Book of Three”).
  3. Like Aragorn, Taran will become a warrior and a leader of men, a fate he tries to avoid.
  4. Prydain is a little like Middle Earth, a representation of what a young earth could have been like with the existence of magic and magical beings/creatures, and how that co-existence of magic and reality could have ceased.
  5. The character of Dallben is very similar to the characters of Gandalf and Albus Dumbledore…or should I say that the latter is similar to Dallben?
  6. Rowling’s Inferi sound so similar to Alexander’s Cauldron-Born that I can’t help wondering if she read this series before or after she started her bestselling series and got inspired by Alexander’s idea.  Both the Inferi and the Cauldron-Born are dead people resurrected by an evil enchanter to do his wicked bidding…go figure.
  7. All volumes in The Chronicles of Prydain have the strong themes of mortality versus immortality…

I know some fans of Alexander have expressed a firm dislike of Taran’s character, saying that he acts too immature and is like a prat, but it’s enjoyable to watch Taran mature and grow out into this exceptional person and the man “who must be king.”  I’ve also pointed out more than once that Alexander has some obvious extracts from Platonism in his series, but you’ll have to read the entire work to find out what those are.  I have to remark that Alexander really knew how to develop characters you’d instantly love and those you’d love to hate.  Princess Eilonwy (Taran’s friend and future love interest), the amusing Fflewddur Flam, Gurgi, Doli of the Fair Folk…wonderful characters I would be honored to call my friends in the real worlds, although I’m fast friends with them in the book world.

While Alexander includes Welsh mythology in every volume of The Chronicles of Prydain, he really won my admiration through his direct writing style…the way that he interpreted truth and wisdom, love, death, and the purpose of life itself.  This series and each of its volumes earns my 5 out of 5 star recommendation to every reader on this planet, and whether you’re intrigued by how Alexander re-defined some magical creatures these novels or you just have to see the showdown between Taran and Arawn (who turns into a serpent at the end…does this symbol sound familiar from any series…?), The Chronicles of Prydain is my all-time favorite.  It has everything: exciting battle scenes; humorous moments that still make me laugh; a gigantic, music-loving cat; a fairy king who has a temper problem; a self-named bard whose harp harps him on about telling the truth as it is; a princess who knows how to fight; and Taran, a boy who turns into a man through hardship, suffering, and the burden of his own destiny.

Do I have a favorite volume in the series?  No.  Amazing as it may be, I love each of the volumes equally, and I have favorite scenes from each one that I like to muse over, like a pleasant memory.

I really can’t stop praising this series enough, and I so want it to become a live action film or a series like Merlin.  Disney’s animated adaptation of The Black Cauldron isn’t very true to the volume it’s based on as far as the plot is concerned…

Disney's imagining of Princess Eilonwy in "The Black Cauldron" (1985)

On a side note, The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain is a prequel (unofficial volume#6) to The Chronicles of Prydain, a collection of intriguing stories that give background information on some major characters from the series.

Now, enough of my enthusiasm…The Chronicles of Prydain is only one major hunk of Alexander’s bibliography, but prove me wrong!  When someone like me asks you if you’ve heard of Lloyd Alexander or The Chronicles of Prydain…perhaps you will be able to respond. 😉

Natalie Gorna

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