Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Robert Jordan (1948-2007)

One of the best fantasy novelists of our time passed away Sunday. Robert Jordan, whose real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr., might well have been my favorite writer, and even though I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, not even at a book signing, I find this news hard to take.

As a fantasy writer, I would have to say Robert Jordan has probably inspired my writing more than any other author. I read the first book in his “Wheel of Time” series about ten years ago, and the skill of his writing and the reality of his world sucked me in pretty hard. His books offered a world where men and women held a certain equal footing where power was concerned, and in many ways, one could view the series as an example of how men and women struggle to communicate and work together… and how our world suffers for the failures. Certainly, it served as a major theme within the series.

For my part, I also find a certain hope in Jordan’s career. Like myself, he was a native South Carolinian, and that a guy from my home state could make it big within the fantasy genre has always given me a confidence that I can do the same.

There are so many stories I hope to write, and just as Jordan’s career has given me hope, it now adds a hard reality to my dreams. I don’t know that I will ever be able to finish all that I hope to accomplish, write all the stories I want to tell. Even at the meager age of 34, I can already feel time working against me.

Perhaps the darkest irony is that my career is really just starting as Jordan’s has ended. My wife and I recently finished our work on our fantasy novel The Last VanDaryn. The day after Jordan died, not yet aware of Jordan’s death, my wife and I finally mailed off a submission packet for our book to a literary agent.

Jordan liked to begin his stories in the “Wheel of Time” with the following text:

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose... The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”

I suppose for fans such as myself, it feels as if that wind has settled and the Wheel has stopped.

James Oliver Rigney, Jr.
October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007