Since the last time I wrote I stumbled in three items I found so interesting as to be worth mention in my journal.
The first is an article written by Michael Moorcock, the creator of the saga of Elric of Melniboné, one of the greatest epic fantasy stories of the previous century. Maybe many of you already know it but for those who don't:
The article is titled Epic Pooh, and can be read here: [link]
A description of the article can be found on Wikipedia here: [link]
Basically, Moorcock argues about the mediocrity of a group of celebrated writers, mainly C.S. Lewis and especially Tolkien through an analysis of their prose. I loved reading this article. It perfectly puts into words why I loathe the Lord of the Rings and all the derived garbage (I'm thinking of Terry Brooks).
I even used to detest fantasy as a genre before I started reading some seriously good fantasy author like Robert E. Howard or George R.R. Martin. Or Moorcock himself.
There are many key points I strongly agree with. Of course it's just my opinion, and if you love LOTR, you shouldn't read further.
It's conservative and antiromantic. LOTR gives us a terribly anticlimatic happy ending which undignifies death and sacrifice -which are the essence of epic as you can find in all greek epic, but also in Beowulf or in Sigfried's saga: you won't find happy endings or consolation. After the adventure everyone goes home, back to their routine, everything as it was before, just slightly changed by the events but in its roots, immutable. And it shows Tolkien's misanthropic, conservativist idea of a bucolic idyll which is anti-urban, anti-progressivist. In Moorcock words, "he sees the petit bourgeoisie, the honest artisans and peasants, as the bulwark against Chaos. These people are always sentimentalized in such fiction because traditionally, they are always the last to complain about any deficiencies in the social status quo." The status quo to which characters go back after the adventure.
Another great passage: "The little hills and woods of that Surrey of the mind, the Shire, are "safe", but the wild landscapes everywhere beyond the Shire are "dangerous". Experience of life itself is dangerous. The Lord of the Rings is a pernicious confirmation of the values of a declining nation with a morally bankrupt class whose cowardly self-protection is primarily responsible for the problems England answered with the ruthless logic of Thatcherism."
Lastly, and that is what I agree most with. In Tolkien, evil is undefined. It is its own explanation, a shallow tautology. Sauron is an abstract, absolute evil. So are all his minions. I always found that distasteful, even when I was a little kid. There was no depth in that evil. I wanted a real badass enemy. I was disappointed.
So a great article for me.
The other two items are free music again! No metal this time, oddly enough you may think.[link][link]
It's ambient music which blends soothing and haunting sounds that gives me new sensations. I'm playing these albums sometimes while I draw. Both are quite great in my opinion.