Fantasy Author - Dedicated to studying Necromancy and bringing Beethoven back to finish his 10th (Hint: my bachelor's in history did not help much, but it did teach me some pretty cool stuff [especially about the Romans]). Also incapable of turning down chocolate when offered. Amateur astronaut who goes to planet "music" when bored with earth. Learning is an irresistible passion, as is wine, art, and (of course) writing.
Anyway, the story of today is a reminder to everyone I have 2 (that’s right, 2) book signing events coming up in December. One is December 10th between 1-4pm right here:
Barnes & Noble at Tidewater Community College 300 Monticello Ave Norfolk VA, 23510
And another on December 17th between 1-4pm right here:
Barnes & Noble 11500 Midlothian Tpke, Spc 440, Richmond, VA
So show up and let’s have some fun.
Let’s talk Heracles.
Euripides. This guy:
But if he were alive, he would probably still have a lot to say. One of the three greatest tragedians (the other two amigos were Sophocles and Aeschylus) of ancient Greece, Euripides was more character-driven and emotional as a writer. His plays are filled with dark and powerful characters, reexamining their relationship to the events around them. That’s your typical rundown of who Euripides was a writer.
It’s not the whole story.
Euripides is not just about the characters. No great writer is. A good story, a great novel, has so much more than just a great plot, character, or theme. It intertwines all of those together.
Sometimes, it’s the characters who create the great plot or how they react to their situations that create the themes of stories.
For instance, take Wall-E. Yep, that funny robot guy from the Pixar movie. What creates the whole plot, comedy, and entertainment value, is how Wall-E deals with the situation he’s thrust into. It’s a foreign world to him. Everything is clean aboard this massive spaceship where fat people float around in chairs in their own virtual reality. There’s no garbage for him to cubisize (that is: “to convert stuff into a convenient and easily transportable cube of stuff”).
His character is what creates the struggle. Where does he go? What does he do? It’s determined in part by who he is already.
And he’s an extraordinary average guy, which is why he saves the day and gets the girl at the end.
Hercules was not so lucky.
SPOILER ALERT: do not read the following synopsis if you want to find out what happens to everyone’s favorite hero in this play. Hercules comes home from his years away and finds that his family is on the verge of being slaughtered by a tyrant who has taken over the city. He slays the tyrant and is about to become the rightful king of Corinth. Hera, Zeus’ estranged wife and sister, has always hated Hercules, however, because he is, of course, illegitimate. So she sends “madness” to take over his mind and he believes his wife and sons are the wife and sons of his enemies from abroad, and he kills them both. When he wakes up from his madness it is too late and he is led away to Athens by his friend Theseus, neither a king nor with a family. He leaves his father behind to bury his family, since he cannot touch them for religious reasons.
Hercules commits a crime while crazy, but does not remember it until he wakes up.
Hercules ultimately accepts what he has done but exiles himself to Athens where Theseus, his friend takes him in.
This is a strange one to grasp. None of us, I believe, would hold Hercules exactly accountable for what happened. Hera had sent the madness to him, and he went crazy. He did not know what he had done. Sound familiar?
Sounds like this guy from Captain America: Civil War. Remember when he says to the Cap, “Yeah, but I still did it?”
Someone must be accountable though, right?
Someone committed those crimes, right?
It must have been Hercules then. But he was neither aware of what he was doing, nor intended to do it.
The law, in some cases at least, would still find against him. But what about the moral standpoint?
Feel free to talk about it with your friends and family or Euripides acting group. It’s an interesting concept at the very least.
But where’s the focus entirely on character?
Hercules’ character isn’t necessarily as important to this story as the details around his character. It was that he was born to the wrong woman, not the queen of the gods, that essentially brings this misery upon him.
That’s hardly his fault.
Where is the culpability then?
Zeus? Zeus killed no body. Can we hold parents accountable for what their children do as adults, especially when your spouse is the one that drives them insane?
Either way, to conclude this overly long blog post,
Something to consider when reading an author: “What is causing the events of this story to happen? The character? Events beyond the character? How does the character respond? Why do they respond like that? Who is responsible for the events that occur in the story? Who feels culpable? How do they respond to that guilt or non-guilt?”
Start with Heracles
P.S. I accept full responsibility for this poorly written blog post,
I know I have been neglectful of my blog, and have made many promises. I shall most likely keep them all, in time, but as for now, I have been making some decent headway into my next novel and that keeps me quite occupied as you can imagine!
But to give, perhaps, some insight into the writing process of mine, I can only say: music. A LOT of music.
Basically, anything that sounds tragic enough to be useful. That includes (is not limited to)
Brahms’ 4th Symphony
Dvorak’s 7th Symphony
Bruckner’s 7th, 8th, and 9th Symphonies
Beethoven’s 5th Symphony
Schumann’s 4th Symphony
Schubert’s 8th Symphony
Brahms’ Tragic Overture
Beethoven’s 14th and 15th String Quartet
Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge
Beethoven’s Egmont Overture
Beethoven’s Coriolanus Overture
On that last one we’ll stop and dwell on it. It’s only about 10 minutes long, not very long considering that most of his symphonies are about a half hour to an hour long and are the main source of admiration for Beethoven. (He gets a lot of attention for his quartets and sonatas and rightly so). I feel, however, that his overtures are greatly underappreciated.
Coriolanus, for instance. Or as he titled it, Coriolan.
Coriolanus, of course, was an ancient Roman general who marched on Rome after defecting to the enemy and marched on its gates, only persuaded to give up after his mother came out and shamed him. So he retired, according to Livy. He was killed according to Plutarch, and he was viciously murdered according to Shakespeare. Of course, Shakespeare’s interpretation was necessary if there was going to be a play.
But literature aside, let’s tackle the overture.
Wagner wrote that overtures are meant to capture the spirit or essence of a story, (or at least Beethoven’s did according to him). That explains the weirdness of the ending of the Egmont overture. How does a tragedy end happy? If music can ever really end happy? (Or triumphant?)
Well, Egmont dies in Goethe’s play so that can’t be it!
It’s because Egmont is about “democracy” and thus, Beethoven captures the feeling of democracy in his music. The ending triumph is the ultimate triumph of democracy.
Then what about Coriolan? What does the end signify? The three lonely plucking of the string that beats with our hearts?
I am at a total loss on this one.
Beethoven’s music covers such a range of emotion it is impossible to list or label them all. In fact, the vast majority of them probably don’t exist except within the context of his music.
That’s a good word.
Vast and Impenetrable?
Who knows for sure? None of these words really capture any single moment. That’s the magic of Beethoven. He pairs his motifs so well that the Overture itself is like a story, a novel, where several motifs fight it out — or are they working together? I can’t even tell that much.
It’s a great drama, like the entire span of a man’s life. One great drama.
Shakespeare knew that.
I think that Beethoven and Shakespeare would have gotten along well. Beethoven and Goethe seemed to have.
Anyway, that’s today’s ramblings. Drama. Tragedy. Music. The futile hope of finding a place in Beethoven’s shadow…
P.S. Imagine what my book is going to read like… makes me shudder…
Richmond was great guys, as you can guess, if you managed to sneak onto my Legend of Borach Facebook Page! You can catch a glimpse of all the fun we had there, including speaking to a small subset of High school kids about reading and writing. The quote I threw at them, which I sincerely hope they remember, is Kafka’s:
A book is an ax for the frozen sea within us
Don’t ask me where I found that he said that. For the life of me I cannot remember, only that it wasn’t in his Diaries, because I read those and I would have remembered it being in there. My favorite quote from his Diaries is:
Slept; awoke; slept; woke; miserable life…
That’s pretty much how the whole thing felt.
Anyway! Enough depressing stuff. Turns out there were a ton of people just waiting their whole lives to read a real book, which is why it was good I showed up with The Legend of Borach, because it is a real book! Sales were great and turnout was great! So excited to go back!
I’ll have some interesting articles coming soon (I hope)
Busy life keeps me away from my blog,
Your fav author,
P.S. Just totally invented a new hashtag: #realbooks
Get your fantasy-loving butts over to Richmond’s Barnes&Noble at 11500 Midlothian Tpke Richmond, VA 23235! I’ll be there between 1-4pm! So don’t be too late or too early or else you won’t get your magnificent copy of the Legend of Borach signed by yours truly!
If you didn’t make it to Williamsburg, Virginia last Saturday then you sure missed quite a bit! We had a great turnout for the first book signing for The Legend of Borach!
Let met tell you what I learned from that first signing:
People are willing to listen.
People actually want to read good books today. Most were just afraid I was a fantasy writer who was writing cheap fiction with no substance. I actually had to convince them my attempt was good literature as well as exciting page-turning reading!
If you sit for 3 hours, you have a tendency to get hungry and not notice it.
So that’s but it’s not over… not by a long shot.
Because next Saturday I’m going to be in Richmond, so run over and grab a signed copy! Find the full details right here!