Month: February 2019

First 100 Copies Sold!

WRITING UPDATE

Wow! I’ve been so blessed by the support of you, my family and friends. I’m really excited to pass this milestone. Yes, it’s a humble beginning. In the grand scheme of the publishing world, it’s not a Times Bestseller or an impressive-sounding literary award.

But it’s a start.

Meanwhile, as Shards of Law takes its first steps, I’ve been hard at work on Book Two of the Avanir Chronicles. The continuation of the story is going to be a wild ride! I’m currently about 40% of the way through the first draft of my rewrite. There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s nice to take a rest from the publishing business and return to the joy of writing: this unfettered period of creativity will always be my favourite step.

If you still haven’t gotten your copy, or if you think someone you know might like it, the paperback version of my book is available for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers.

And if you’d like to read it without the commitment of buying, you can check out my Instagram/Facebook page (@ledereksen) and track down a copy in the Little Free Libraries of Wolseley. I’m also looking into getting a copy in the Winnipeg Public Library, so if that’s something you’d like to see, you can help me out by suggesting a library purchase here.

What is art?

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”- Michelangelo
What is art?

As a writer, this question hovers in the backdrop of my mind on a daily basis. What does it mean to create something beautiful? Something worthwhile? As a storyteller, is my goal merely to entertain? Or is there some other purpose to my struggle?

Ever since I was little, I was awed by Middle Earth. It wasn’t just the rich imagination of Tolkien, or the exciting story of triumph in the face of evil. For some reason, when I was in Middle Earth, I felt like I was reaching higher. Like I was seeing a broader vision of reality. Ideas like beauty and wisdom were personified, and they walked around wearing pointy grey hats and radiant elvish robes. Nobility dripped from the Halls of Edoras–nobility tinged with sadness for a people somehow less than they had been. Could they be their true selves again, redeemed in a last heroic stand against evil? And then there was the courage of ordinary people like Frodo and Sam, pushed by unexpected circumstances to do more than they could ever imagine–one step at a time, falling and getting up, and falling again.

Like other writers of fantasy, Tolkien sometimes faced accusations of “escapism.” Why was he bothering with imaginary worlds, made-up languages, and hobbits when he could be doing more practical things? Tolkien’s response was simple: “Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home?” [1] Trapped in one of humanity’s bloodiest centuries, Tolkien longed to reach beyond the horrors of “progress” to a place of true beauty.

This, I believe, is the meaning of art. All art, regardless of genre or medium, is an act of reaching beyond the mundane towards what Michelangelo called “the divine perfection.” Art is a mirror for our souls. It’s an eternal question: who are we, and why are we? 

So that brings me back to myself and my own humble work. Why do I write? And how can I ever compare myself to great creators like Michelangelo and Tolkien? The simple fact is, I can’t. The point is not to copy any existing art–then it ceases to be art and becomes instead the shadow of a shadow. Instead, we each of us reach for the divine in our own way, sometimes clumsily, always imperfectly, but always in search of something higher and greater.

In the end, all we can hope for is a shadow.

[1] Tolkien, “On Fairy Stories,” (1939).

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