Tuesday, September 29, 2015
My Beloved King Arthur : The legends & myth that move me
Since childhood I've been a romantic of thought, and belief. I have an emotional personality, and a mind that is entertained by notions of heroic defense of the codes of right and wrong. Among my favorite childhood toys were the Silver Knight by Marx Toys, and the Castle and knights, a fold out vinyl castle and knights to fight endless battles. The tales of King Arthur and his Round Table of great knights were my super heroes.
And for me, I was moved by the vision of living for the code of honor that a life filled with the Chivalry code offered. I was bullied often, my parents had forbidden me to fight, so I was not a bully, and to bullies my brother and I were easy meat. But I read books to escape, as well, of course, comics, and movies. I was able to survive the life I lived, mentally, despite certain pains, and sorrows, due to the beliefs I had. And so, for me, the legends and myths of King Arthur and his day, were fulfilling, and enriching of my life. They also allowed me to hold tightly my religious faith, without having to bend either to fit.
My first book of Arthurian lore that I wrote or was a part of was Lancelot. I've described the genesis of the project elsewhere, but roughly, we chose to retell the story of Lancelot through our own eyes, telling a new version, with new art. It was done as a work with two teams, one from France and one from the US, and it is a beautiful, even stunning work. The work of art that it is was in my mind flawless. The words and images are beautiful and moving. The business end of the work was poorly done. It didn't make enough money for anyone, and so, it could be a work that was an orphan, having no other works similar or related to it. But, since the original agreement was for a color work, and the publisher changed that without consultation, I held her to the agreement. So a color version with enriched page color, color images, and fine lettering was done to offer a limited edition. Few people who got this work realize how rare it is, but they truly can see how special it is. Both books are out of print, but are truly beautiful. Poet G.F. Evrard is my sword brother, and my comrade poet on this work, and I will never forget him.
The next chapter began following directly after Lancelot was published when I was told to write 80 poems about King Arthur. This was a considerably bigger commitment and one that I was told would be mine alone to bear. I would miss working with and communicating with my French allies, as the glory of a group project like Lancelot was the daily encouragement, the brother/sister friends, and more. But this project was seen to try to narrow the focus, narrow the amount of communication needed, and try to make the artistic vision continue. I had no problem writing about Arthur. I'd seen myself as his knight for decades. I was not him in spirit or in desire, and at least, not worthy to be him. I wrote of the court life, the betrayal of him by his two best friends, battle, honor, and of the special honor he was owed by so many, for being the true king. The world often sees the leaders it elects as being disposable, but the true leaders are so important we cannot afford to ignore them, to dispose of them. They are once in a lifetime figures usually. My work was complimented by the art of Trent Westbrook who had done some of the illustrations in Lancelot, as well as in my work A Life of Ravens. When I presented the work to the publisher she held onto the work for over a year, and I realized she was not going to publish it, and a short while later she ended business operations. So my friend Josh Brown offered to format it and help me self publish it, but, I knew he could write, and I requested that he also write a tale of Arthur, so there is a Josh Brown Arthur tale in the book as well. The resulting book Arthur Rex Eternus in Latin means, Arthur, King Eternal, and I am very proud of it.
The Quest of Arthur: The Holy Chalice was my book of love poems and metaphor, and the Holy Chalice was the metaphor of perfect love that people seek. I realize that people reading it might not see the book as such, and there might not be 100% of the poems in that book directed towards that theme, but overall, that was the purpose. Initially I wanted, rather deeply, Josh Brown to write a short story again, but he was crushed by life events so, that didn't occur, but he did format the book and edit my words, so he acted as my publisher, for which I am very grateful. The work is fully illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite artists on the inside and the outside cover is by my lovely pal Jason Moser. Having him do that cover was a blessing and one half! This work was not entirely about a single knight or story, but about the themes mentioned.
Lastly for now, KING OF AGES is the title of a fine book compiled by JOSH BROWN, yes you've heard his name before. He is now the head guru of a small publishing house called UFFDA. The concept of the book is that King Arthur and Merlyn are timeless, and have appeared in the timeline of humanity, when the need arises many times. The writers of the project were called to write individual stories explaining and portraying one of those times. I remain grateful to Josh for all he has done for me, and my work in this book is another that I am grateful for the chance to have appear. It was great fun.
A friend of mine who has produced art for three books or more has had some health issues. He is feeling well enough that he asked if we could do another book. The news is so good considering the sickness being fought, of course I said yes. While I won't go into fine details and who knows what the future holds, I will say, if the book happens, it would be welcome on this page regarding the subject.
Thank you for your support.
LINKS TO EACH BOOK:
My Amazon page
Arthur Rex Eternus
The Quest of Arthur
King of Ages