Monthly Archives: April 2014

Cherry Blossom Cascade

spring is here
it’s time to define all
possibilities as sound & infinite
my delirium as distinct
a silver lion in red
roaring robust quantities

this fervent fever will
collide in the scope of endless expanses
a death-defying breath
of storms
crackling air charging
the heir apparent
blossoming the backwards base
blooming the cherry mash

this will go on
my dear
until we’ve outgrown our youth
which will never

Sketches of the Five Republics

Sketch of the Five Republics

Here are the first (top) and second (bottom) map sketches of the Five Republics. I changed some names of places and expanded some others. The overall design of the map was heavily influenced by the map in an old Dragon Magazine article by Ed Greenwood, an article that made a big impact on me when I first read it in middle school. (In fact, that article was where I first learned about Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, which is another big influence of mine.)

The World of the Five Republics

For 3,000 years, the Great Empire of Namaloom ruled all of the Eastern Lands, stretching from one coast to the other. The Imperial Dynasty of Namaloom reigned with an iron grip, supported by the elder gods of the Court of Shadows. Until 300 years ago, when the young gods of the Court of the Sun and the Tribe of the Moon rose up against the Court of Shadows, inspiring the commoners of Namaloom to rise up against the Imperial Dynasty. After 50 years of bloody rebellion, the Court of Shadows was overthrown, and Namaloom fell into ruin. Refugees from Namaloom traveled across the Ocean of Storms to the Western Realms and joined with the elves, dwarves, goblins, gnomes, and other Fae there to build the Five Republics (Coruna, Tormerine, Nemantha, Calioch, Pashtria), devoted to the Court of the Sun. North and west of the Republics are the Wild Frontiers, where Human and Fae barbarians worship the Tribe of the Moon. The gods of the Sun and Moon encourage the people of the West to work towards progress, growth, harmony, and enlightenment. But across the sea, the Lost Empire of Namaloom and the gods of the Court of Shadow seek to regain their old power and turn this Age of Illumination into an Age of Darkness and Tyranny.

Notes: I’ve always been a fan of epic, high fantasy. I love Tolkien, but one of the things that bothers me is his obsession with bloodlines, “the thinning blood of great men” and “rightful kings.” (This bloodline obsession tends to show up in other high fantasy as well, like in C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian¬†and other stories that center around the “long-lost rightful heir to a throne” trope.) I’m a big fan of the European and American Enlightenment movements, so I wanted to create an epic fantasy setting (for fiction and/or a tabletop RPG) that involved republicanism and liberalism, humanism, scientific experimentation, and religious reformation, as well as the traditional Dungeons and Dragons tropes of ancient magic and wizards, polytheistic pantheons of gods who take an active role in worldly affairs, and fantasy races like elves, dwarves, etc. This is what I came up with, which I think of as Swashbuckling Clockpunk Enlightenment fantasy.

Fantastic Covers

I love these covers. I love them so much, when I was looking to add the Earthsea trilogy back to my collection (the copies I had when I was a kid lost for some years now), I purposefully searched used bookstores for these editions.

I’m not sure exactly why I love them so, but there’s something about them that seems epic, mythic, wondrous. They inspire me to create stories that are grand and poetic,¬†stories of magic and mystery and wonder. (The novels themselves also engage, entertain, and inspire me, but that’s a whole different post.)

I don’t know if I’ll ever write an epic fantasy novel, but if I do, I want it to have a cover like these.



fare thee well my friends
take these tears & puzzle pieces
& carve a new pathway
towards your bursting stars
like lemon drops & flowers

leave footprints on the ceiling
as you ride tidal waves & gailforce winds
are the heaviest weather i know

& even if i’m just a ghost
an echo
a reflection seen from afar
remember i am with you always
velcroed to you
like your own shadow

oh fare thee will my loves
take this crooked smile & laughter
& set the horizon alight
with cinnamon gum & purple crayons
you lions of lastditch dancing

leave footprints on the elevator shaft
leave footprints on the highway
leave footprints on the sky

& remember me always