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Ryder's Newsletter
April 2023

“The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’"

- C.S. Lewis


Two years ago on a brisk Tuesday morning in early March, I sat down at my desk and stared out the window toward the woods. A stray image prickled in the back of my mind that I'd been percolating on.


I typed this single sentence on a blank Google document:


Twilight clouds painted red and purple moved across the sky barely holding their behemoth shape, skeletal branches striving to grasp them as the hunter's hooded figure prowled toward the treeline.


That clumsy first sentence became a paragraph, then a few more paragraphs which turned into pages.


The first fictional prose I'd written in many years, and the beginnings of a story.


Eight months later by early November 2021, I'd written a 150,000 word fantasy novel.


Like so many first attempts, it didn't become anything resembling the grand vision I had in my mind. It doesn't hold up as anything close to a cohesive publishable narrative, and there is much about it that is broken. In that original form, it won't ever see the clear light of day.


Still, it's my mess of words that I labored over and lived with and dreamed about.


More importantly, it was fuel for the fire, what would become the genesis of my grander vision for a multi-part epic fantasy series called 'The Remnant Divine'.


Since that first spark of an image and subsequent enlivening of a character, an ember set fire to the inner parts of my mind and hasn't stopped burning or spreading.


Not to over romanticize it, (then again isn't that what writers and creatives do?) but I had come back to a long and fatefully forgotten desire of mine.


You see, a little voice somewhere in the far reaches of my brain would nag and whisper and sometimes seemed to yell, "You should be doing that!"


It happened whenever I absorbed an extraordinary story in any medium, entering a world of danger and wonder that made me step back in awe, choke back tears, or make me utterly and completely want to stay there in that story forever, like I was a little kid again.


After a while I finally gave the voice credence, realizing I wanted to create the very stories that I loved and that moved me.


But why? To prove something to myself?


To gain the admiration and affirmation of peers?


To help bring truth and hope to a world in such desperate need of both?


To entertain and enliven and encourage even just one person who connects deeply with something I've written?


To all of the above, yes, and in varying degrees depending on the day. I think if we're honest, our motivations behind our ambitions and pursuit of our passions shift and undulate day to day from the egocentric to the altruistic, aligning eventually with who we were made to be.


But when it comes to creativity, here's the bottom line:

We are built for it.


We survive and thrive through the stories we tell and what we bring into being by our own hands, sight, feeling and all our capacities.


We ourselves were created and can't help but to create.


Once I took the leap and saw that first draft of a book through to it's end with all it's flaws intact, that voice started saying something different.


"You can do that."


All told, the inspiration I took from other's stories and imagined worlds turned into ambition and passion, setting a fire within me, with the hope that a single drop of inspiration and hope might be passed on to even one person who reads something I poured myself into.


That's the beauty of human creativity right there. It's a contagion and infinite resource, one which we can always draw more of from the wells of those who have gone before us, to then pour into our own for the cycle to continue.


I recently finished the second draft of my second novel, a fantasy standalone story which I hope to publish in the next year or so. That unto itself is another mountain to climb. It's going to be heavily revised, torn apart, burned to ash and pieced back together before it's ready. All the same, I'm looking forward to sharing more as that time comes closer in addition to some sample chapters and excerpts!


At the bottom of this newsletter is a concept render of an item from the story world of this book. Something called an embril.


This magical-science based writing implement has the ability to bring the imagined and perceived into the real through the drawing of wardscript and the 'mental spark' of the user, otherwise known as thermocognition.


I wonder what latent desire and ambition lies within the dry tinder and bramble in the backwoods of your own heart, mind and soul? What spark could you use to catch it ablaze, then breathe upon it fanning it to flame, tending and guiding it into a controlled blaze for all the world to see?


Speaking from experience, it's worth it and then some. The voice that tells you should be chasing after that thing that lights you up isn't lying. You know it when you feel it.


After all, isn't the world made all the more wondrous and our reality richer when we can bring something good and new into it?


“Embrils were designed to bring the spark of the mind into the real, to transform the impossible into undeniable reality.” – Percevian Trast, Headmaster of the Akadem of Arcane Sciences, Head Council of Theus in service to the Holy Prosperance.

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