The prompt was:
Who is your favorite author and why?
There’s this girl. She’s about 28 years old, a housewife and mother of three. She loves her life, but she spends a good part of it in fantasies. Sometimes she’s mapping out new worlds, sometimes she’s creating new creatures, and sometimes she’s talking to her creations. She never expected to fall in love with one of her fictional characters, but she has. She has sworn to write about him and his universe and to share it with the world. She thinks about it every day, and she knows her husband is probably getting tired of hearing about it. But she hadn’t always been like this. Her head wasn’t always lost in the clouds.
Okay, maybe it was. She certainly spent a lot of her life dreaming instead of doing, and planning rather than enacting. She would tell you it wasn’t her fault. If you were living in a world where your parents kept divorcing, you had the same chores every day, you made absolutely no impact in society, and your mind was turning against itself… wouldn’t you also need an escape? And wouldn’t you agree that it’s far better to get lost in a book than lost in a wine glass? Well, that’s what she did. It’s what she does. She loses herself, and she dreams. She dreams of writing.
Writing is hard, but reading is harder. It’s an adventure, it’s a friend, it’s an enemy. It’s conflict, it’s romance, it’s complicated. Every book she reads is too short. Every bond she forms with a character is broken with the last turn of the page. It’s just not good for her bipolar disorder or her codependency issues; it’s really not.
But a few years ago, she found a world that helped. She found the World after the Breaking. She went to the Borderlands and the Aiel Waste, she went to Seanchan and the Isles of the Sea Folk. She lived in Cairhien and Andor, fought across the plains of Maredo in Illian, and trained in the White Tower at Tar Valon. She found the world of Robert Jordan.
Robert Jordan is her role model. He wrote a book series called The Wheel of Time. There are 15 books involved in the series, if you count the prequel book–which, she will tell you, should be read properly between books 5 and 6. Jordan’s first book came out in 1990, and it took over 20 years for the series to come to a close. He spent a lifetime creating and perfecting the perfect fantasy world, and the detail is astounding. He follows over 25 main characters, and introduces you to what must be at least 200 other named characters. It sounds like it would be confusing, but it’s surprisingly fluid and beautifully written. The world he describes is perfectly thought out with politics, religion, climate, landscape, cultures, races — you name it, he covered it. His attention to detail in his world inspires her in her own design. Knowing it took so long to write them all, that masses of loyal readers stood by the series for over 20 years from start to finish, has taught her that it’s okay to take her time with her words, because if she tells it right, people will stand by her as well. And maybe her books can help people like her. Maybe there will be other people one day who dream of escape, and maybe they will seek comfort in her books. Maybe they will get lost in her universe the way she does in Jordan’s.
Between you and me, I think she knows more about his world than the real world around her. I can’t blame her though; I would want to live there, too. She hasn’t even read the final book in the series, and it’s been out for years! I asked her once, why she didn’t just read it. Her husband bought it for her the month it was released. Yet I saw it on the shelf one day, covered in dust.
She told me, “I can’t stand the thought of that world ending. I can’t say goodbye to those people. I grew up with them! I laughed with them, cried with them, discovered saidin and saidar with them… We have been through so much–SO MUCH–and I can’t leave them. I just can’t.”
It must be that much harder for her, knowing that Robert Jordan passed away before he finished his books. He had it all planned out, and Brandon Sanderson collected his notes and put them together as best he could in Jordan’s voice. The last books were published, and the series completed. But there won’t be any more additions to the story. There won’t be any more adventures. When I think about that, I understand why she hasn’t read the last book.
She’s not completely mental though; I know I must have made it seem otherwise. She reads other books, and visits other worlds. JRR Tolkien created Middle Earth. Sara Douglass created Achar. These are among her favorite places to visit. But only to visit. Her inner Aes Sedai is firmly set in the world Robert Jordan created.
If you ever find yourself lost, or looking for an escape, or just needing a friend… she’ll be there, turning with the Wheel of Time. She’ll introduce you to the right people, show you who to trust and who to run from, and she’ll support you as you fall in love with the world she loves to fall into.
The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.
~ R.I.P. Robert Jordan~
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