I finished rererereading The Wheel of Time and resisted the urge to start over again, mostly because I have library books due and need to read them. I considered returning them unread, but the librarian was kind enough to deliver them and I didn’t think it proper to be so dismissive of her kind gesture.
The Wheel of Time has some hugely glaring faults, not the least being that Robert Jordan fell in love with his world and apparently didn’t want to waste even a single idea that crossed his mind, even if it didn’t fit with the story. He also had the annoying habit of creating characters for no apparent reason, pounding away at unimportant plot points and then simply dropping them, while at the same time, barely touching on some important issues. He seemed to like playing games with his readers and he especially seemed to like being mysterious for the sake of being mysterious, neither of which did anything to move the story along. He also seemed to change his mind about things he set up in early books, so that there are some awkward gear changes in later books.
But, that being said, the work really is brilliant. He is one of the few major writers I have heard about in the past few decades who actually spent years researching and building his world before he ever began writing. It’s fun trying to pick out all the symbolism and cultures, philosophies and costumes, influences and archetypes. But more than that, it’s a world of old-fashioned values such as honor and obligation, as well as being a world of less pleasant strictures such as compulsory obedience. But without the bad to push against, the good wouldn’t be as apparent. At times, the writing is almost lyrical, which helps lend an otherworldly air to the work.
I wondered how spending two months reading and rereading such a massive work would affect my interest in books taking place in today’s world, and as I feared, today’s world feels . . . clunky. It’s not just books that feel clunky, to be honest. Other things do too, such as modern methods of doctoring. In Jordan’s world, the “witches” can delve into people and heal them almost immediately instead of having them go through horrendous “therapies,” such as the cancer protocols of today. In some cases and places in The Wheel of Time, thought becomes real, so that one isn’t always battering against the solidity of this world. (Our world truly shouldn’t feel so solid, considering that things are made of atoms and atoms are comprised of a few particles, a bit of energy, and a lot of empty space.)
Still, it’s probably good for me to do something other than spend so much time in a fake world, especially one not of my own making. (Though oddly, my as yet unpublished book is a world of my own creation, which takes our world then breaks it and remakes it in a different way. I can honestly say that Jordan did not influence me in any way since my book was written — and the sequel planned — long before I discovered his works.)
Meantime, I’m still chiseling away at the tarot, picking a card every day and seeing what it means as well as how other tarot artists depict the symbol. (Today’s card is the hierophant, if you’re interested. The word hierophant means “revealer of sacred things,” and the card indicates someone who helps unravel mysteries. It’s also about intuition, i.e.: inner tuition — inner instruction or guidance.)
I almost started a tarot journal today, but who starts a new project on the 28th of the month? It is the beginning of the week, so there is that, but the first of the month is just a few days away, which seems even a better time to start. It also gives me plenty of time to change my mind. If I don’t change my mind, there is the decision of how to do it, whether in a long hand journal, or on line. Long hand is easier in some ways since there is the possibility of hand/brain connections, but online would be easier if I wanted to include images. I considered continuing my tarot studies as part of this blog, adding a bit of my tarot learnings to the bottom of the daily article as I did today, but I have a hunch I am alienating readers who see the tarot as something less than admirable. On the other hand, posting to two blogs every day is a bit much.
On a lighter note, I’ve had a surprise. I thought all the wildflower seeds I planted were defunct, but I think it’s more that our severe drought kept them from germinating, because I found a small patch of bachelor buttons below a gutter drainpipe. I didn’t plant it there, but there it is.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator