Tag Archives: epic


I woke in a room that smelled vaguely of peanut butter and wasabi. It was the kind of smell that slapped you awake and made you write home to mom about it. Once I was fully awake (and had written a short note to my mother) I noticed I was in a long, pearly-white corridor. It was shiny and plastic, like something from a 1970’s sci-fi movie.

I stood up and noticed a plaque on the wall that said Ancient Wasteland And Robotic Doughnut Society, or A.W.A.R.D.S. for short. An arrow pointed down the corridor with a friendly reminder written next to it that said “I’m pretty sure this is the way you want to go.” I took the wall’s word for it and started off.

Before too long, I came to a door with a computer screen next to it. On it, were the words:

Most Influential Blogs of 2012. You were nominated for this award by Alastair of Alastair’s Blog. Do you accept? (Y/N?)


Blink. I wasn’t expecting that. Of course I hit yes. To be nominated for anything by Alastair, who posts such amazing photos and cool music was a honor.

The screen changed. There are no rules for this award, it read.

“Is that true?” I said.

Yes, the screen said.

“Can you hear what I say?” I asked.

No, the screen said. I was suspicious. Please enter blogs you have found influential.

That was an interesting challenge. Hmm, I thought and started punching in names.

– Arjun Bagga of http://arjunbagga.wordpress.com/ I love his beautiful pictures and stories and actually I was inspired to write my Fantastic Travelogue after reading one of his posts. I love the way he captures the souls of common people.

– Rochelle Wisoff-Fields – Addicted to Purple http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/ I have had a lot of fun and learned a lot participating in the Friday Fictioneers, a group she runs. I love the way she comments on every story that’s posted.

– Sharmishtha Basu: http://sharmishthabasu.wordpress.com/ Sharmishtha has been very influential to my writing, from inspiring stories, to using pictures of mine in her writing. I love her fantastic stories, great artwork, and spirit of activism to help those in need.

– Written Words Never Die: http://ericalagan.net/ Eric has been a very influential blog for me. I love his dark and fantastic stories and his short, but powerful flash fiction.

I stopped for a moment and the door suddenly opened. There were others that I found inspiring, but the screen had turned dark, so I continued down the corridor. I walked for a while and was passed by a robotic doughnut that was playing with a yo-yo.

I came to another door. This one was glowing and next to it was a screen with cherubs on it. The cherubs were playing cards when I got there but when they noticed me, they jumped up and shoved the cards out of sight.


“Welcome!” they said in unison (they said everything in unison, which was a bit disconcerting). “This is the Shine-On Award. You got nominated by Kim, from Unwalled. Do you want to accept?”

“Of course,” I said. “Kim is awesome. I don’t have any other friends in the Bahamas (that I know of) but I could have a million and still not have one as nice as her.” They nodded enthusiastically.

“So what do I do here?”

“You have to nominate 15 people that you think really shine,” they said.

“And what does that mean?” I asked.

They conferred for a moment. “That’s up to you. Also, you have to nominate 7 blogs that tickle your fancy.”

“I just put in some that were influential. Can I skip the ‘tickle your fancy’ part?” I asked.

They conferred for another moment. “Fine, as long as the influential ones also tickled your fancy. Did they?”

“Assuredly,” I said. “Can I nominate Unwalled back?”

“Uh…No. But you can thank her.”

“Very well.” I started to think of some blogs that I thought really shined in one way or another.

“Would you like to add why?” the little cherubs asked. “It’s optional.”

“Will the people see this?”

“Mostly likely, yes.”

Very well. I started typing.

1. Teacher as Transformer: http://ivonprefontaine.com/ A source of inspirational thoughts from a fellow teacher.

2. Miss Four Eyes: http://missfoureyes.wordpress.com/ Really, what’s not to love? Adding a little joy to my daily reading.

3. Mindful Splatter: http://marilyndavies.wordpress.com/ Great stories and pictures of daily life.

4. An Evil Nymph’s Blog: http://evilnymphstuff.wordpress.com/ Wonderful photographs and stories from the island of Mauritius and the mind of an evil nymph.

5. Ironwoodwind: http://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/ I love reading his great, compelling stories every week.

6. Rambling and Other Nonsense: http://matronbell.wordpress.com/ She posts beautiful thoughts and great stories. I just finished her novel, Planet Atlantis, and really liked it.

7. Josie Coccinelle: http://josiecoccinelle.wordpress.com/ The only French blog I follow. She has such a sweet heart. I wish I could comment more confidently on her posts, but I’ve forgotten a lot of my French.

8. The Urge to Wander: http://theurgetowander.com/ She goes all the places I wish I could, or remember going. I travel the world through her pictures.

9. ABC of Spirit Talk: http://abcofspiritalk.wordpress.com/ Such great thoughts, especially those that use animals as metaphors.

10. Diary of a Lost Girl: http://completelymistaken.wordpress.com/ I love everything I read from her and am always happy when I see her around.

11. Boomie Bol: http://boomiebol.wordpress.com/ What a great and kind poet. Passion and love exude from her writing.

12. Life in Kawagoe: http://cocomino.wordpress.com/ My window into the world of Japanese culture, sharing the simple side of life.

13. Luddy’s Lens: http://luddyslens.wordpress.com/ A wonderful look at the world through photographs.

14. Elixir: http://bradleyball.wordpress.com/ One of my oldest friends. I love reading his perspectives on life, family, and Christianity.

15. Jodies’ Journies: http://cutenosegrl.wordpress.com/ Inspiration and thought-provoking posts.

I could have kept going, of course (my blogging friends really do shine on) but as soon as I had put in the fifteenth name, the door slid open.

“Bye bye!” the cherubs said in unison and then disappeared.

By this time, I had no idea what to expect next. I came to a staircase and starting climbing up and up. Lightning flashed. Somewhere, off in the distance, the Inspector Gadget theme was playing. I came to a third door. Actually, it was a portcullis. The screen next to it was 3D and when I approached, a booming voice shouted:

“You have been nominated for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness!”


“Is that a real thing?” I asked.

“Yes, of course. You were nominated by the Blog of the Imaginator, a very epically awesome person in his own right. Do you want it or not?”

“Of course,” I said. Who wouldn’t want an award for being epically awesome, or awesomely epic?

“There are rules!” the voice boomed. “First, you must tell me ten things about yourself…and write them on pieces of fruit!”

“I don’t see any fruit,” I said.

There was a rattling sound and a wagon-load of fruit rattled down the corridor towards me. “Sorry!” the voice echoed. “Our cook quit today. Now get writing!”

I picked up a banana and wrote: I hate getting up in the morning.

“Be more interesting!” the voice shouted.

I wrote I have watched the entire Simpsons series in order on a rather large apple. The voice didn’t say anything else, so I got down to work.

3. I abhor long sleeves (written on a mango)

4. The longest I’ve been unemployed since I was 12 is five months (written on a bunch of grapes; one word on each)

5. I’ve always lived on either the top or bottom floor of a building (written on a watermelon)

“These are becoming pedestrian!” the booming voice warned.

I picked up a cantaloupe and wrote: I love coffee. The voice huffed a little, but shut up.

7. I am currently listening to Don Francisco on Youtube (written on a jack fruit)

8. My current cell phone was obsolete when I got it in 2008 (written on a mandarin orange)

9. I really want to go camping in Greenland sometime (I tried to write this on a strawberry, messed it up, ate the strawberry, ate a few more, then wrote it on a musk melon.)

10. I hate it when I maek typos (written on a papaya)

“Are you being sarcastic?” the voice demanded, but then noticed that I had ten things and continued. “Next, you must nominate 10 people whom you think are epic. Get cracking!”

I stepped up to the screen and started to write.

1. Monk Monkey: http://monkmonkeysblog.wordpress.com/ A great, funny blog

2. Music and Fiction: http://musicandfiction.wordpress.com/ Music plus fiction equals a great combination

3. Oh God, My Wife is German: http://ohgodmywifeisgerman.com/ Hilarious cross-cultural fun. When people think fun, they think Germans.

4. Chosen Voice: http://chosenvoice.wordpress.com/ Seriously, check out her artwork and stories. Epic is the only word.

5. Tales of a Charm City Chick: http://talesofacharmcitychick.com I’ll read anything I can get from the inimitable La La.

6. waldotomosky: http://waldotomosky.wordpress.com/ Sweeping sagas of brawling Norsemen are just the beginning.

7. Christopher de Voss: http://chrisdevoss.wordpress.com/ Great quirky fun that’s right up my alley. Plus, he’s the guy that made up the name Edward “the Squid” Morrison.

8. The Bumble Files: http://thebumblefiles.wordpress.com/ One of my oldest blogging friends and such a great wealth of quirky stories and great thoughts.

9. Dysfunctional Literacy: http://dysfunctionalliteracy.com/ Where I go to feed my love of great and weird books, as well as the continuing saga that is the Long Story.

10. Moments with Millie: http://momentswithmillie.wordpress.com/ I love reading her inspirational thoughts every day. She has a beautiful, loving heart.

“Next, you have to tell the people that you nominated them!” the voice shouted.

“But won’t they know when they get the notification that I linked their blog?” I asked.

“Are you that lazy?” the voice shouted. “Where is your netiquette? Now go tell them!”

“Are you going to open the door then?” I asked. There was a pause.

“Fine.” The portcullis clattered up and I walked forward. Soon I found myself looking out of my own Green-Walled Tower. The land of A.W.A.R.D.S. makes you feel good but it sure can be strange sometimes.

For those who are interested, here is what the original forms of the awards look like:




Master of Darkness – William Hope Hodgson

I’m sure every reader and writer has authors who fire their imagination, who make them see the world in a different way–and for writers–those who help shape their writing’s themes and style. For me, there is a small group that really stands out in my mind: writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, William Hope Hodgson, H.P. Lovecraft, and H.R. Haggard, to name a few. Interestingly, they all did most of their writing in the first half of the 20th century, although I’m not sure if that’s significant.

Today, I want to tell you about William Hope Hodgson. He was an English author who lived from 1877 to 1918 [1].  Actually, he died in battle in Ypres, in World War I.

This is the cover of the book I first bought. Notice the Volume 1 (argh)

This is the cover of the book I first bought. Notice the Volume 1 (argh)

I would not be surprised if you haven’t heard of Hodgson before. I first came across a book of his in a rummage sale in 2001. It was The Night Land, Volume 1. Volume 1, mind you, and since the book was out of print, I had to wait about 10 years before I could find the whole story online and see how the story ended. But it was worth it.

Hodgson wrote a lot of books, but the one that influenced me the most was the Night Land. It is a weird book, to be sure, but that’s part of why I like it. It takes place millions of years in the future, when the sun has gone out (hence the title). The remnant of humanity lives in a huge pyramid, over seven miles tall. Outside in the dark, there are hordes of terrible monsters, some of which are on a cosmic, Lovecraftian level of evil. The hero has to go out into the dark to rescue his beloved from another area far away (how does he know her? It’s . . . complicated. You’d better read it.)

It’s not a perfect story. For one thing, it is all written in an archaic, Shakespeare-esque language. There is a reason for it, but I can understand how some people might find it hard to get through. Also, the main character, while very brave and gallant, is also incredibly chauvinistic at times towards his beloved. (Since the book is public doman, James Stoddard has a new version of it where he has modernized the language and hopefully taken care of some of the other small problems.) There is plenty to like about it and plenty that inspires me. Such as:

1. The scale is epic. There is not much that inspires me as much as vast, vast spaces, and that is something this book has a lot of. Besides the pyramid that houses 1320 individual cities, the hero travels huge distances alone in the dark, up and down mountains, and past huge and horrible monsters. All the themes are big. It’s like a sci-fi/cosmic horror retelling of a fairy tale, but more.

2. It’s dark. You’ve probably picked up the fact that I like darkness; not, as the Bible says, because my deeds are evil, but because…I don’t really know why. I find it inspiring. I’ve written eight novels and five of them have darkness as an importaThe Last Redoubtnt theme (five also involved learning a foreign language in one way or another).

3. It’s triumphant. It’d easy to imagine how a story about a world where the sun has gone out and the last remnants of humanity are confined and surrounded by soul-eating monsters could be a little bleak. However, this book isn’t. In the story, the humans (i.e. good guys) are a shining light in the literal darkness and they overcome, or at least stand firm against it. It’s not an easy world to live in, but they keep on and keep defying the darkness. And that’s what I want in my writing too.

I realize that a lot of this has been about the book, The Night Land and not about William Hope Hodgson, but I chose that as his representative book, at least in terms of inspiring me. I would recommend this book to you. If you’re interested, you can download the e-book free here.


Post-Script: And now for something completely different.

I’d like to introduce the artwork of my blogging friend, Sorina at Chosen Voice. I found her blog about two months ago and really love her artwork. She said I could print out one of her pictures, if I took a picture of myself with it. Well, that my hand and computer, at least. Here’s her original post of it.

My copy of Colorful Soul, by Sorina M.

My copy of Colorful Soul, by Sorina M.

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