Heh, heh! Yes, it’s worthy of a headline, because it happens so rarely. It’s a terribly busy time right now: this week, I’ve been correcting rough drafts of student essays from my writing class. They’re doing some great work, but checking the drafts is a major project requiring pretty much all free time. What’s made it a little more stressful is the timing — right now, my agent is waiting for me to get back to him on the draft of The Sacred Woods. He’s been through my much-revised manuscript and has made extensive notes and suggestions. Before he can proceed with submitting the book, I need to check over everything and see what I think. That’s the task I’m drawn toward with all the fervor of my writerly being, but there’s this matter of 36 writing students depending on me to return their essays on Wednesday. . . . One of my definitions of Heaven is “the place where day jobs will never again keep us from our writing.” Writing will be the “day job” — at least, for those of us who love to write.
Anyway, this book I finished reading was Lost Lands, Forgotten Realms: Sunken Continents, Vanished Cities, and the Kingdoms that History Misplaced, by Bob Curran. It’s published by New Page Books, a division of Career Press, Franklin Lakes, NJ, 2007.
Aside from the fact that it’s simply great fun to read about these places we’ve often heard of (but may not know many details about), what I like most about the book is that it’s a fountain of story ideas for a fantasy writer. Here are discussions of such places as El Dorado, The Kingdom of Prince Madoc, Hyperborea, The Hollow Hills, and The Lost Dutchman Mine [This list is not inclusive, by any means!], and every one of them is a fantastic springboard into Story, suggesting romance, drama, and high adventure against a fascinating backdrop. These places whisper and sing with the allure that has always beckoned our kind.
Have you wondered what is the exact difference between Avalon and Lyonesse? Have you been intrigued by tantalizing references to Hy-Brasil? Have your ears perked up at the mention of Prester John, Judaculla, Shangri-La, Davy Jones and his watery locker, Yggdrasil, or the Green Children? There’s even material here to fascinate the Lovecraftian, in the section on Irem: City of Pillars, which yes, does figure into much of Lovecraft’s work.
I’ll quote here from my reading log, the record I keep of books I’ve finished:
I started reading it at 1:07 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, 2008 at my desk . . . ; I finished it at 1:10 a.m. on Friday, January 15, 2010 at the table. . . .
I read this book almost exclusively during lunches, usually on Mondays, at my desk. It was a huge amount of fun and offers a wealth of story ideas just begging to be developed!
I hope to get back here with another post sometime this week. In the meantime, has anyone else out there read a good book lately?
Tags: Avalon, Bob Curran, Davy Jones, El Dorado, Forgotten Realms, Green Children, Hollow Hills, Hy-Brasil, Hyperborea, Irem, Judaculla, Lost Dutchman Mine, Lost Lands, Lyonesse, Prester John, Prince Madoc, Shangri-La, Yggdrasil