I am one of the many, many fans that read Eye of the World by Robert Jordan over 20 years ago. I don’t get roped into things like becoming a Trekkie or stuff like that, but I did become fanatical about The Wheel of Time books, and had they had a convention somewhere, I’d have totally attended. How amazing a writer this man was to be able to lodge that creation from his imagination into our souls, and then be able to maintain that connection with us over the span of decades? That is a writer that was blessed with a true gift, not just a little natural talent.
Back when I was still pregnant with my youngest daughter, Caitlyn, I began reading a science fiction/fantasy series called the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. After initially bitching at my then-husband Dennis about bringing me a science fiction book, for Pete’s sake, a flood hit our town, and it was either read that book or sit in the silent apartment doing nothing. Electricity was out, and boredom is a torture I avoid at all cost. My thoughts have been know to scare even me. Better to keep my warped brain busy.
I picked up the unfairly maligned book, Eye of the World; two days later, I was transformed into a sleep-deprived, somewhat malnourished, frantically obsessed new Eye of the World fan who was scraping up the money to get the sequel, The Great Hunt in a manner that only someone who has been addicted to heroin or cocaine can truly understand and relate to. I had just joined the massive amount of fans that were loyal to this author and his series, and waited with anticipation each year for the each new book to come out. After a couple of years, the one year turnaround would then become a two year wait between books, and so on. I’d grumble but I knew no matter what, I’d be one of the first in line when the next book came out. I was committed to the story.
Finally, one day, after 20+ long years of wading through this epic tale, one tiny piece at a time; after reading and rereading every complex book written in the series in preparation for another tiny morsel of information about to be released to bookstores soon; and after all the suffering the long silences between books, joy came in the form of a media announcement that the next book was the last one. Finally, all would be revealed.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Fate became a roaring bitch, stepped in and dealt a huge swath of unsuspecting science fiction fans a hard kick to our proverbial groin.
The author contracted a deadly blood disorder, lingered briefly…,long enough to announce his impending recovery and allowing our hopes to go up…., and then he promptly died, just like that. To the grave, he was taking end of the story!! Brains reeled all over the place trying to fathom this turn of events. I know that I personally fully expected him to live until he’d finished the book, obviously having the ability to control the timing of his own death if the reason was important enough. And what could be more important than the ending to a story you spread out over two decades about a bunch of people who never existed living on a planet that also never existed, and doing things that we will never do? Frankly, death was just going to have to wait his turn. Mr. Jordan had work to do first.
I for one didn’t like my reaction to the news of Mr. Jordan’s death, and I was ashamed that I cared so much more for the story of people that didn’t count at all in the big picture, nor would ever matter to anything other than this one story, and so very little for the real people that were losing Robert Jordan the real father, real husband, real friend, and real person. But I also realized that the balance of a story is what I find defines its worth to me. A story that doesn’t have an ending does not appeal to me at all.
In the end, though, Fate’s evil ploy to destroy The Wheel of Time series for us all failed, and using Mr. Jordan’s own notes, another writer was commissioned write the ending. I had assumed the final book would probably suck since Jordan’s style is complex and probably can’t be mimicked well or easily, but at least we’d know what Jordan had planned for an ending. A crappy ending is better than no ending. It was something.
Three books and four years later, we Wheel of Time fans had our ending, and rather amazingly, it was written as well as Jordan himself.
Now, to get to my point. I am not now, nor will I ever be, anywhere near the kind of writer Robert Jordan was, nor am I comparing myself, my story, or anything with him at all. I just know that my entire opinion of the series he wrote would have changed if it never had an ending written. My opinion of my own story is what I’m evaluating these days.
I like things that have a clear beginning, middle, and then an end. I love the balance in all things in our universe, including artistic forms of expression. I find a story that is told sporadically, floating without any rhythm, or doesn’t seem to be cohesive is just a waste of time to read. I won’t like it. There is a symmetry to what I find attractive; in every song, every dance, every story, every poem, every picture or painting…in everything under the sun that appeals to me, there is some kind of flow that takes me all the way through.
Unfortunately, lately, I’m thinking that my own story about Chef, The Bandidos, Bernice, and all the rest of the events surrounding this last year is just exactly the lopsided, unfocused kind of story I hate. There seems to be great big shadows throughout the blog version of my story, distracted repeatedly by the introduction of something else that has momentarily caught my eye or the inability at the time to be specific about something that was happening to me for fear of it being heard by the wrong people. It’s an important story in my life… possibly the most important one up until this point… and I want to tell it correctly. This has been my plan for a long time, but I never could get the first few words to pass through my brain to my fingers and onto the screen. Memories would cause the pain to spike up again, and the perspective would be temporarily ruined. I had to wait until it had lost some of its power.
I think I’m ready to do just that now.
For the next few posts, I’m writing the story of my marriage’s death, only from the survivor’s point of view this time. I have spent a year with most of you, telling the most painful tale of betrayal as it was unfolding, sometimes drunk off my butt, but always with powerful emotions coloring everything. Now, I’d like to tell it again, all at once, but with the perspective of having survived the wounds. Time tends to make things look different.
Perspective is frightenly powerful to how we understand and remember our lives.
Hope you like it.
- In memory of Robert Jordan (thewriteedgebookshelf.wordpress.com)
- Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson – A Memory of Light (fyreflybooks.wordpress.com)
- Injuries Common to the Groin Muscle (orthopedics.answers.com)
- The Wheel of Time Series: Final Thoughts (readoutsidethebox.wordpress.com)