Tag Archives: high fantasy

On Fairytales, Romantic Fantasy and the Bourgeois

When in my twenties I belatedly came into real contact with the Punk movement and related underground anti bourgeois drug-taking communities and thought worlds, I immediately knew I wanted very little to do with this possible way of being, this psychic underbelly as I saw it… I aspired to the upper realms, in philosophy a Platonist, in imagination a Romantic, a High Fantasy lover (well, for good or ill almost exclusively Tolkien and C.S.Lewis).

So for 20 years or so I’ve been, with elder brother John, writing and now drawing the story of a quest in that higher level – volume one of which, The Girl and the Guardian, is a hero and heroine’s quest for the restoration of the Grail – which in this story is the Lost Heartstone of the Tree of Life. There is a lot in it about learning the traditions of the Old Ways of the Eutopian Order of the Makers, and a Restoration of the Balance in a new Age which is similar to the old Golden age. If that is bourgeois- then ironically I, the sociophobe, shy rebel, and Eutopian dreamer, AM  bourgeois – conservative, where compatible with reason.

It is to me the main, and sufficient, justification for Conservatism that we must at all costs avoid throwing the baby of nobility and truth and the social support structures thereof, out with the bourgeois bathwater.

We touch here on matters of faith… I am sorry if I hurt friends of old by the vehemence of my rejection of any tendencies to glorification of the antihero, of degenerate ways, of anti-platonism and relativism; or, in the last four years since Trump, my approval of much that he stands for, and disapproval of what he (mostly) stands against. I accept that early experiences can make a person feel a need to dwell on the ‘lower’ levels to sort out their victimhood and alienation, and that there they may also find consolations and fellowship. And to (vehemently) champion any and all ‘underdogs’, alligning with the so-called ‘Social Justice Warriors’ and ‘Social Marxists’.

But I would always wish to lead – indeed seduce – through stories if not arguments – these disadvantaged and victimised, and all who will listen, towards the higher ground from which they can see the stars. My parents had a poster on the wall (before they took us to live on a Papuan mission school settlement after they watched a movie The Sky above and the Mud Below) with this poem:

Two men looked through prison bars

One saw mud, the other, stars.

I always knew which man I wanted to be. This aesthetic and later ethical allegiance was a big ingredient of the fuel for this long and winding journey of my brother and I to create our own truly romantic epic fantasy – we believe it’s ‘true’ in the end – more true than the allegiance to the ‘mud’. We believe that the metaphysical stars are wo/man’s destiny, while loving the earth, and yes even the mud in its place as the nurturing place of the lotus roots… hence the major theme in our Apples of Aeden of the Restoration of the Balance – Earth and Sky, Feminine and Masculine, Yin and Yang, Anima and Animus. The lost soul is the separated half-human, alienated from its Other Half  (the male from the female especially – females can more easily compensate I think). That is partly why our epic is an advance (metaphysically, not necessarily in any other way!) on our acknowledged master of High Fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien; and also, thinking about it, C. S. Lewis. Apples of Aeden strives for a portrayal of a time before the great Schism of the genders, and what its healing would look like. It is an attempt to rediscover the Goddess, and reunite Her with the God. It also avoids the hateful heresy against morality and logic of portraying any sentient thinking life form, be he orc or monster, as created to be evil, without moral or ethical conscience or ability to become better than their biological heritage would tend to make them. Our human biological heritage after all has many ghastly tendencies!

So, I labour on, this part of the journey being to illustrate a shortened version of volume one, with a projected 80 or so pen and ink drawings. I’m up to about 42 now… If anyone wants to see these or to read the epic in short or long form, follow this blog! There will be news here of any location for updates, new illustrations, and announcements of the new illustrated edition of volume one, a shortened The Girl and the Guardian.
For the long version, free or cheap, see Smashwords or Amazon or Apple – see the links in the menu of this blog. Also, for $3.99 each, volumes two, three and four. From some of their high points, I hope you can see the stars.

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Tolkien, the Ring of Power, and Benzene

Well I don’t like to admit it, but I have a body too!

moe 4295 CROPPED

Subject to the usual ills, but also, like many sufferers, the  ills of this chemically saturated age. I’ve some nasty bouts I describe as ‘chemical hangovers‘, often from small exposures to solvents. A friend told me that her frequent migraines turned out to be related most of all to chemicals containing benzene. She said there was also an unspecified ‘spiritual dimension’ to this.

This got me thinking. My first thought was that it’s striking the structure of the benzene molecule is a ring. This was discovered, or dreamed, by the chemist Kekule one night in the symbolic form of a circle of snakes biting onto each other’s tails.

Ball-and-stick model of the hexahydroxybenzene...

Perhaps the Middle Earth ‘ONE RING’ or ‘Ring of Power’ of our time is the benzene molecule (part of the pertol mix I gather) and its nine ring-wraiths are the ‘infernal combustion engine’.  Tolkien always hated the motorcar… Did he know of the benzene ring?
So perhaps your bodily rejection of benzene is my friend’s deep knowing that modernism is making us all sick. And that so-called escapism of fantasy is pointing us to the only way out of the American– no that’s not fair – WESTERN – dream/ nightmare of endless expansion and unlimited rapid travel.

This rings true for me anyway- even though I love invention and enterprise. Perhaps I am more like saruman than I realized,  and that’s why I’ve been so conflicted  in my eutopianism and fantasy. And so attacked by chemical poisoning, like my friend who also writes fantasy. (There’s a reason why most fantasies are set in a pre-industrial age: that is the most romantic, and whatever evils it contains, they are somehow part of the fabric of life, not mechanical and alien to our natural evolved organic being. Science fiction is the principal instrument for wrestling with the impact of the machine on our being; fantasy is the vehicle for exploration of a oneness with nature and natural beauty and yes of course magic, we are in danger of losing touch with altogether.)

I too was part of the Benzene Dream, working like a maniac in a ‘dark satanic mill’ of my own construction, for the purpose of unlimited production of photoframes for the masses, delivered worldwide by the infernal combustion machine. Now I mostly write fantasy, and hope the benzene ring doesn’t destroy us all before we come to our senses…

Strangely, my own fantasy, Apples of Aeden, (free volume one ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/243499  has an enemy, the Aghmaath, whose ‘logo’ is a hexagonal ring of scythes and a snake biting its tail:

BLACK simple spinning scythes 290408 copy

This was not intentional. But it fits. The Aghmaath quest is to put an end to life and the ‘wheel of striving’, the negative side of which the benzene ring in its toxicity symbolises so well. I trust there is a middle way between the mad pursuit of the benzene-fueled good life, and the pessimism of the misanthropic philosopher Schopenhauer.  If there is, its outlines are at least glimpsed  in the invented realms of (serious) fantasy. So, everybody should read fantasy! It’s not escapism, as Tolkien would say there are different types of escape. The ‘escapism’ of high fantasy  could just show us the way out of the 21st Century lunatic asylum.

 

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