Which door would you pick?

Doors (archways) photo
Photo by Michael Lomza at Ubsplash: Marianne's Palace, Kamieniec Ząbkowicki, Poland

There was a question posted in LiveJournal a few years back: You find yourself in front of seven identical doors. A voice from above tells you, “These doors lead to seven different places: Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot, Middle Earth, and Westeros. Which door do you go through?”

Well, first of all I would add two more doors that lead into my own worlds:

Syai, the China-that-never-was-but-might-have-been, either in “The Secrets of Jin-shei” or the book set in the same world hundred of years later, “Embers of Heaven.”

Worldweavers, the home of Thea Winthrop and Elemental Magic, where you could walk and talk with Nilola Tesla and Corey the Trickster.

Okay. My answers on the original seven because asking an author which of her own worlds  she would choose to live in is like asking her which of her children she loves best:

First off, the obvious NO: Westeros. I’ve never read the whole entire series but what I’ve seen of the TV show basically tells me that unless I step out of that door on the far side as ALREADY a queen (and even THEY often don’t fare all that well), my life would tend to be short sharp and brutal and thank you very much. I’ll pass. Besides, for some reason, what I HAVE seen of George R R Martin’s epic I’ve enjoyed on the level that it’s a punchy story that rolls you forward but on some deep and fundamental level it just never did satisfy me.

Narnia – if you has asked me this question when I was 14 I would probably have run, not walked, to Narnia. Particularly if I could meet Aslan (who was not, after all a TAME lion). There was just… something. Something magical.

But then I fatally read, or was educated about, the stuff between the lines, and Narnia lost its gloss. I can still love it, and enjoy it, but there is a tight wary part of me that wants nothing to do with the allegorical layering within it and I do NOT want to end up where I think I would end up if I went there, with Aslan magically transforming into one of those religious-postcard blue-eyed Jesuses with an expression of inexpressible beatitude and an attitude of “you will be just fine if you do what I say you do and think only what I say you think”. I’m sorry, but I’m way beyond that. I have my own ideas. If I could be guaranteed Aslan and ONLY Aslan, I might consider it. Otherwise…

Neverland and Wonderland share a particular characteristic which means I’d love to visit but not stay there long term – an overwhelming preponderance of the twee and the whimsical. In the case of Alice – particularly in the Looking Glass books – you might say that it all means an entirely different thing and that if you pay attention you might actually understand this and have an experience that is vastly different from what you think you are seeing. And while I do ADORE Lewis Carroll’s obvious and irrepressible love of language – if I had to LIVE with that I’d be insane in short order. I’d probably TURN into a Jabberwock and start eating people.

Hogwarts – oh, I don’t know. There are wonderful things in that world. There are also things that make me roll my eyes mightily and go, oh, REALLY?!? And learning pig latin to do spells… would lose its charm fast.

Which leaves us with Camelot, and Middle Earth.

Camelot was an enduring love affair, for me. I LOVE the Arthurian cycle (well, the parts of it before it turns into a Christian tract and the only thing that matters is finding the metaphysical equivalent of salvation in the shape of the Holy Grail. But it had a power to it that I responded to, the power of PEOPLE living a MYTH.

When I was 19 I even wrote an entire novel from the POV of Guinevere (and discovered that it was a damnably difficult thing to do because she could not POSSIBLY know half the things that I needed her to know in order to carry the plot forward, without resorting to silly little-girl tricks like listening at doors…) Given a chance to go through that door and find myself in Camelot… ah, well, the rub here is WHICH Camelot, and what I will find there. But this one would tempt me. Tempt me hard.

In the end there is only one door for me, though, and I am sure those of you who know me picked this one for me right from the start.

I am a Tolkien girl.

For a very long time I have lived and breathed Middle Earth. I may not know Quenya, but my heart speaks that, and Entish, and knows how to sing “Misty Mountains” in the original tongue of the Dwarves who wrote it. I understand this world, and I treasure it. In fact, I hardly need to open that door and step through… because I am already there.

I’ve been there for as long as I know.

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A new treat for my Patrons

I have written a new short story set in a world I may revisit some day: Val Hall, the Bruce Wayne Foundation-funded Home for Retired Superherors (Third Class). It’s all about…well, you’ll just have to read it.

A note about Patreon: as publishing changes, most authors need new sources of income. If you would like to help me continue writing about wizards and Weres, Jin-shei sisters, and girls who rise from the gutter to Empress, consider pitching in with a small monthly pledge. For the cost of a latte or two you too can become a patron of the arts.

Details HERE

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Wired asked writers to create 6-word SF stories

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so. – Joss Whedon

More from Wired HERE

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Are we the enemy?

We are living in a science fiction novel.

Is our species evolving into a new superorganism taking over Earth? Gaia Vince thinks so. At BBC.com he makes the provocative argument that humanity is completely transforming life on our planet.
HomniVince argues that our species, Homo sapiens, is evolving into a superorganism he calls Homo omnis, or ‘Homni’ that is in some ways equivalent to a slime mold monster.
Slime moldDo we behave like slime moulds, individuals coming together to have a much more powerful influence on the planet? (Science Photo Library)

Only time will tell if we will be a benign caretaker, or a monster that destroys life and with it ourselves. The odds aren’t good.

Read the article

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Castles you can spend the night in

From dungeons and haunted turrets, to four-poster beds and glorious spas, a stay in a British castle is a magical and mysterious experience. As the original owners pass away or find it itoo expensive to maintain their ancestral homes, more and more beautiful castles are opening their doors to guests,  Britain Magazine says.
Ruthin CastleRuthin Castle, Denbighshire: The Wales retreat surrounded by a vast estate was built in the late 13th century for King Edward by Dafydd ap Gruffydd. Dafydd went on to become the Prince of Wales, before being hung, drawn and quartered for treason. Ruthin Castle has been transformed into a luxurious hotel.

Read the article

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I went to school at Hogwarts castle myself

Well, Bodelwyddan Castle in Wales, actually. I don’t know whose idea it was to stick a girls’ boarding school into a haunted castle, but it was inspired.
Bodel Castle AutumnI spent a year in that school. Yes it had at least one resident ghost. It had exposed beams, old fireplaces, stone walls, mullioned windows, cobbled yards, battlements, ivied walls. All of it.
castle ghostAn interior shot complete with ghost. Well, not a ghost, of course, just some student, teacher, visitor or … hmmm?

I lived in a storybook castle for a year. for all that it was a BOARDING SCHOOL They had *pink stuff* for lunch sometimes. I don’t to this day know what it was but it tasted foul and I don’t eat anything pink to this day.

It’s a luxury hotel now.

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8 Authors Whose Biggest Successes Came After The Age of 50

When you read lists like “the top 25 writers under 25”, or find out that Stephen King published three of his major novels before the age of 30, it can feel like the time to write the next great novel has already passed, Rincey Abraham writes at Book Riot.

However, there is no age limit for when a novel can be published.  These authors’ major works were all published when they were in their 50s or later.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Big Woods, the first of Wilder’s Little House books, was originally published in 1932 when Wilder was 65 and the final book was published when she was 76.

 

Read the article

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War and Peace

War and Peace in 186 words

For those who don’t quite have time to get through all 561,093 words of Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece, Boyd Tonkin has produced a wonderfully abridged version for The Independent.

There will be a quiz.

 

 

Read the abridged version

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A Dare: Go Forth and Re-Read Your Favorite Books From Childhood

There are adults who actively, sometimes exclusively, read YA fiction, Syreeta Barlow writes in Book Riot, as if it’s a fattening indulgence that cannot be denied.

Reread childhood booksBut I think certain children’s and young adult fiction should be required re-reading after your Nth birthday. Your perspective will completely change. Trust me. Revisit Catcher in the Rye after you’ve had your quarter-life crisis, and suddenly, your teenage drama feels like it played out in some Marvel multiverse where you remained forever seventeen and nothing was as important as other people’s opinions of you. When you can reflect on your adolescence without self-pity or undeserved veneration, you may be closer to discovering your true self in the words that spoke to you as a child.

Read the article

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THIS ‘n THAT

Ursula K. Le Guin to Receive NBF Lifetime Achievement Award

Read the article

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La Jaguarina: Queen of the Sword
La Jaguarina, Queen of SwordsIn April 1896, Rejected Princesses reports, hardened veteran US Sergeant Charles Walsh was hit so hard in a round of equestrian fencing that his opponent’s sword was permanently bent backwards in a U shape. His opponent? A woman who later retired only because she ran out of people to fight.

Read the article

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Quote of the Day

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” ~ Bertrand Russell

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Alma Alexander
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Which door would you pick?

Something going the rounds in LiveJournal posits this: You find yourself in front of seven identical doors. A voice from above tells you, “These seven doors lead to seven different places: Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot, Middle Earth, and Westeros. Which door do you go through?”

I would add two more doors that lead into my own worlds:

Syai, the China-that-never-was-but-might-have-been, either in “The Secrets of Jin-shei” or the book set in the same world hundred of years later, “Embers of Heaven.”

Worldweavers, the home of Thea Winthrop and Elemental Magic, where you could walk and talk with Nilola Tesla and Corey the Trickster.

Okay. My answers on the original seven (because asking an author which of her own worlds  she would choose to live in is like asking her which of her children she loves best):

First off, the obvious NO: Westeros. I’ve never read the whole entire series of books, and from what I’ve seen of the TV show basically tells me that unless I step out of that door on the far side as ALREADY a queen (and even THEY often don’t fare all that well), my life would tend to be short sharp and brutal and thank you very much but I’ll pass. Besides, for some reason, what I HAVE seen of George R R Martin’s epic I’ve enjoyed on the level that it’s a punchy story that rolls you forward but on some deep and fundamental level it just never did satisfy me.

Narnia – if you has asked me this question when I was fourteen I would probably have run, not walked, to Narnia. Particularly if I could meet Aslan (who was not, after all a TAME lion). There was just… something. Something magical. But then I fatally read, or was educated about, the stuff between the lines, and Narnia has sort of lost its gloss after that. I can still love it, and enjoy it, but there is a tight wary part of me that wants nothing to do with the allegorical layering within it and I do NOT want to end up where I think I would end up if I went there, with Aslan magically transforming into one of those religious-postcard blue-eyed Jesuses with an expression of inexpressible beatitude and an attitude of “you will be just fine if you do what I say you do and think only what I say you think”. I’m sorry, but I’m way beyond that. I have my own ideas. If I could be guaranteed Aslan and ONLY Aslan, I might consider it. Otherwise….

Neverland and Wonderland share a particular characteristic which means I’d love to visit but not stay there longterm – an overwhelming preponderance of the twee and the whimsical. In the case of Alice – particularly in the Looking Glass books – you might say that it all means an entirely different thing and that if you pay attention you might actually understand this and have an experience that is vastly different from what you think you are seeing. And while I do ADORE Lewis Carroll’s obvious and irrepressible love of language – if I had to LIVE with that I’d be insane in short order. I’d probably TURN into a Jabberwock and start eating people.

Hogwarts – oh, I don’t know. There are wonderful things in that world. There are also things that make me roll my eyes mightily and go, oh, REALLY?!? And learning pig latin to do spells… would lose its charm fast.

Which leaves us with Camelot, and Middle Earth.

Camelot was an enduring love affair, for me. I LOVE the Arthurian cycle (well, the parts of it before it turns into a Christian tract and the only thing that matters is finding the metaphysical equivalent of selvation in the shape of the Holy Grail. But it had a power to it that I responded to, the power of PEOPLE living a MYTH. When I was 19 I even wrote an entire novel from the POV of Guinevere (and discovered that it was a damnably difficult thing to do because she could not POSSIBLY know half the things that I needed her to know in order to carry the plot forward, without resorting to silly little-girl tricks like listening at doors…) Given a chance to go through that door and find myself in Camelot… ah, well, the rub here is WHICH Camelot, and what I will find there. But this one would tempt me. Tempt me hard.

In the end there is only one door for me, though, and I am sure those of you who know me picked this one for me right from the start.

I am a Tolkien girl.

For a very long time I have lived and breathed Middle Earth.

I may not know Quenya, but my heart speaks that, and Entish, and knows how to sing “Misty Mountains” in the original tongue of the Dwarves who wrote it. I understand this world, and I treasure it. In fact, I hardly need to open that door and step through… because I am already there. I’ve been there for as long as I know.

So, then. Which door would you pick?