Fahrenheit 451 and Meeting Ray Bradbury

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There have been numerous authors who have inspired my writing, but perhaps one of the greatest influences, aside from Tolkien, has been Ray Bradbury.

I was in high school when I picked up a copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I was in 10th grade, to be precise. We had to write a paper on a classic piece of literature. This wasn’t something that I was looking forward to. I had to find a book that would really pull me in. Out of the list of suggestions that the teacher gave us, I found myself saying more than once, “Boring,” “boring,” “boring.” Until finally,  “Hello! What’s this?” I had found that diamond glittering amongst the dusty coal. It was Fahrenheit 451 that grabbed onto my imagination right when I read the brief synopsis. A dystopian society in which books were banned and burned! I couldn’t fathom such a society. My curiosity was kindled greater than the fire that the fireman kindled within the novel to burn books. I went to the school library and picked up a copy. Little did I know how much this book would change my life.

From the start I was hooked. The smell of the kerosene, the heat of the fire, the pages of the books burning in a bonfire took me to a world that could frighteningly come to pass. Truth be told, it was too real for comfort. While it’s true that government wasn’t – nor are they still – paying firemen to burn books, there were other aspects of this dystopian novel I related to and that I still do. This book prophesies about a hedonistic society that would rather be involved in interactive games and reading lists of brief useless trivial facts that don’t encourage any critical or analytical thinking; kind of like those lists on the internet that give random facts. In short, a society that didn’t like books and a society that took offense at everything!

It should be noted that before this, while I occasionally liked to read I wasn’t the voracious reader that I am now. As a child I loved Dr. Seuss and I still do, and as preteen I loved the works of Tolkien and I still do. But Bradbury taught me to see value in all sorts of literature. It’s not an exaggeration by any means to say that Fahrenheit 451 transformed me from a typical teenager to a young philosopher and scholar. With that one novel he initiated me into an exclusive world of thought. To this day, I see people oblivious to the world around them, being more keen on hedonistic and simple pleasures rather than the pains of rigorous thought. I see people who are just as superficial as Montag’s wife Mildred, who glory in their own ignorance. I see moral policemen both on the Baby Boomer side and the Millennial side who want to censor free speech and ban whatever they disagree with much like the novel’s fire chief Beatty. There was no going back. I had taken of the fruit of knowledge in the form of a novel and my eyes had been opened. Still, I wouldn’t go back even if I could.

As a new Bradbury fan, imagine my surprise when he was scheduled to attend a book signing at Page1, the local bookstore of my hometown. There was no way around it. I had to put my other plans on hold to meet him.

I arrived at the bookstore without any book for him to sign. The only copy of Fahrenheit 451 I had was from my high school library, and I couldn’t very well have him sign that. So I did what any teenager who didn’t have much money would have done. I begged my dad to buy me a nice hardback cover of the novel. Bradbury 2

After that, I don’t remember what Bradbury said or if I had gotten there after he did a reading. It’s all vague to me now. However, I do remember the feeling of excitement of standing in the presence of a master storyteller, a modern day bard.   This man was a poet who could write words to awaken longing that lay dormant in the human soul. Furthermore, he was a prophet crying out in the wilderness, preaching the dangers of censorship, hedonism, and book banning. He was an oracle predicting the dangerous future of robotics, mindless interactive entertainment, and a society who learns brief facts, but not how to critically think (Again, think random lists on the internet). And yet, at the same time he was just an average man, a friendly man, someone who could be your next door neighbor.

He thanked me for praising his book, signed my copy, and allowed me to have a picture taken with him with his arm around me. I couldn’t believe it. I was important enough for him to put his arm around me like a long lost friend.  When I asked if I could give him a call, he was even gracious enough to give me his number and told me to call him at this time. Talk about class! I was that important. I’m sad to say something came up and I missed that opportunity to talk with him over the phone. But it doesn’t matter. I got to meet him. I got my photo take with him. I got my book signed.  I will always cherish that moment.

Since then I have fallen in love with Bradbury’s other books. I have traveled with and lived on the desolate planet of Mars, seeing the rise and fall of civilizations within the pages of The Martin Chronicles. I have magically relieved childhood in delicious and wonderful terror, traveling through the history of Halloween in The Halloween Tree. I have blasted to outer-space, experienced everyday magic, and mingled with androids in his collections of short stories. I hope that in the future I can be be half as talented as Ray Bradbury, who was more than just an author, but one of my mentors.

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The Joy of Antique and Forgotten Books

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One of my passions is collecting antique books. Alas I can’t afford literary classics such as Great Expectations or Moby Dick, two of my all time favorite novels. However, I can afford obscure books, forgotten books. I can find for a reasonable price books that have been buried deep beneath the sand and sediment of history,  forgotten in graves of obscurity, tombs to these mainly to completely forgotten authors. For many of these books, if not obscure, are dead like their writers.  They are not privy to the glory of the classics. Unlike books such as The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, or Hunchback of Notre Dame, which have all drunk from a source of ink gushing out of a rejuvenating literary Fountain of Youth, these forgotten books have failed to obtain that state of immortality. Besides, apart from not being able to afford classics, maybe that’s why I love to collect obscure, antique books. It’s a way to keep these deceased and forgotten authors alive, or to at least resurrect them from their graves. The first time I found an antique book I was hooked. I had found it at a thrift shop at the human society I used to work at. The book was a religious devotional from the 1870s.

 

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Two Waverly Novels from the early 1830s, and two novels by Sir. Thomas Brown from the 1720s.

 

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One of my favorite books in my collections of antiques is a 1910 children’s novel entitled Star People by Katharine Fay Dewey. Complete with delightful and whimsical illustrations, it tells charming stories of personified constellations in a fairy tale setting. The stars are gods and goddesses, Draco is an actual dragon, comets are more like mischievous sprites, and the Sun is a King who gets the better of Cancer, an actual crab.

Another gold nugget, I found at a used bookstore in LA was a novel by Lytton Bulwere. The 20th and 21st century haven’t been kind on Bulwere. Bulwere had a tendency to write long winded sentences or what is commonly known as purple prose, language being flowery for the sake of being flowery.  Nowadays there are writing contests that skewer his writing in which writers compose the most ostentatious prose possible. But back in his time, Bulwere was a successful author, loved by many readers. Aside from the infamous opening line “it was a dark and stormy night” to one of his novels, he coined such beloved phrases as “Pursuit of the almighty dollar,” and “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Regardless of what readers think of his writing now, I found a good story in The Disowned about angst, rage, and finding oneself.

 

IMG_5413The works of Sir Walter Scott are also interesting. The three books I ordered on Ebay are part of the Waverly novels. The editions I have were printed in the early 1830s. Out of the three I own, I have so far only read The Bride of Lammermoor, but I enjoyed it. It’s a dark and gloomy gothic historical novel, taking place in a decrepit castle upon the Scottish highlands. Intense emotions, doomed  loved, and dreary omens and prophecies are all part and parcel of this book showcasing the worst of human nature. Sir Walter Scott’s writing is intriguing enough that I am anxious to read the other two novels I have of his, Anne of Geierstein and The Fortunes of Nigel.

In terms of antique books and gothic novels, my favorite is a mid 19th century book I have by Frederick Marryat, The Phantom Ship, a story about a young seaman who is trying to rescue his cursed father from sailing the seas for eternity for his sin of murder. It’s a classic flying Dutchman tale. The story is darker than the deepest depths of the sea and more crushing than the heavy waters. It sweeps away the reader into a tide of sorrow, dealing with love and loss.

But my excitement of obtaining 19th century and early 20th century books was nothing compared to when I was able to procure two books of satire from 1720 by Thomas Brown. Complete with beautiful engravings, I was more excited than when I got a pay raise at work. For when it came in the mail, I held within my hands two antiques that predated The Declaration of Independence or the formation of America as a country. These were books that could have been owned by the British upper class wearing powered wigs, and passed down to farmers upon the plains in America. Who knows the history of who read these books!

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Sometimes I ask myself if these books will ever be successful or rediscovered? I like to think that I will discover the next Moby Dick. After all, Melville’s classic novel about the white whale and Captain Ahab’s quest for vengeance upon it wasn’t always a classic. As hard as it is to believe, this book, which has been compared to a Shakespearean play, was a commercial failure when it was first published. It wasn’t years until after Melville died that the book was rediscovered to critical acclaim. Other novelists who were once successful, such as both the aforementioned Mr. Thomas Brown and Lytton Bulwere, have since fallen into a gaping deep, dark pit of obscurity, in which few travelers dare venture into. The shadows of classic authors have engulfed many a forgotten author, if such obscure authors had never received the due respect that they deserved to begin with.  After all, why explore the trail of words into the forgotten forest of misfit literature when one can just read the next bestseller in comfort?

While I love to read forgotten literature, it’s not to say that all of them are diamonds shining brilliantly. Many forgotten books or books that weren’t popular to begin with are nothing more than failed creations that could never live up to the potential their creators had in mind. However, it’s possible to discover some gems buried among the grains of dirt, including what could be the next Moby Dick or the next Great Expectations.

Often I wonder how I will fare as an author. Will the spotlight shine on me, only for that light to dim and my name to be forgotten in the fog of time? Or will I be immortal, my writing living in the hearts of many, spanning throughout all generations and centuries? Or like Melville will I die in obscurity, my writing to be discovered in some old thrift store or used bookstore, much like I found that 19th century religious devotional book in a thrift store? I guess I will never know. Either way, I look up at stars shining brightly in the night sky. Many of those stars are dead, but in some strange paradox they live on, their light finally reaching us. I hope that when I’m dead I can still be a star, my light shining brightly from the books I’ve written.

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(C) Jonathan Scott Griffin

Another Short Story Segment

Another segment from my upcoming collection of short stories A Treasure Greater and Other Short Stories. This short story is entitled For One Day.

For One Day

Jonathan Scott Griffin

The smell of sour pickles, stale cotton candy, and hot dogs sizzling over the grills freely intermingle under the rainbow of neon lights. I should find this all enchanting. Instead I find it’s giving me a headache. It’s also too loud. The sounds of the carnival games, in which balls slam against glass, and of crying children is giving me a migraine.

It all feels hopeless. None of the joy can pass through the thick wall of depression that has been gradually built around me by the hands of society. Sure. Blame me if you must. It’s what everyone does. Never mind that I blame myself for my business failures, or that I blame myself for the recent divorce of my wife. And even though I’m in debt for my bad decisions, does it mean that I should have to face life alone? My family and my friends have abandoned me. Oh sure, they say that they’re there for me, but that’s nothing more than a feel-good lie. None are able to take me in after I fall. And willing to help pay my debt? Not a chance!  

Do I sound spoiled? I’m entitled to be. I’ve always been there in a jiffy for my friends and family, loaning them money when they were short. I stayed at the hospital, through all hours of the night, with one friend after she was in a car accident. I let another crash at my house when he was having marital problems; heck maybe this helped cause my own marital problems! I have taken so much time for them, because I was under the false impression that they would do the same for me. But life isn’t fair. Maybe this is why my business and my marriage suffered. I didn’t take enough time for myself. But thinking so is only a cheap cop out. It’s more than just not just giving myself enough me time. I just wasn’t a good businessman to begin with. Yes, I can program like no other, being able to do everything from design my own websites, to programming code, and programming my own games, and to being a top notch hacker – not that I hacked, at least not very often – but when it came to business sense I was inept. I have always been a notoriously poor salesman. It was stupid to think that I could run the business without hiring a consultant.

Trying to not give myself any more of a pity-party, I try to get lost in my surroundings. But I kick myself in the butt for even thinking that wasting a little bit of my money on this sideshow of cheap stuffed animals, expensive garbage food, and expensively low quality rides was a good idea. Everyone here is a walking reminder, molded from my memory into physical form that people care about themselves first. Each of these people carry their own cross, drinking the dregs from their own bitter cups. Some are just better at hiding it than others. The only people who seem truly at ease are the children. Well there are children throwing tantrums, but least they are still being honest that not all is well.

I pass by game stalls. Throw the rings on the bottle, or shoot however many figurines and win a cheap prize. No. I take it back. The cheap figurines and the bottles are probably worth more than the cheap prize. It would be less expensive to buy one of those stuffed animals from a store than blow all my money on tickets here. I almost break down, knowing that my ex-wife loved stuffed animals. I would good naturedly tease her about it, telling her that she was too old for them. Now I would gladly pay in blood to give her as many of them as she wanted.

No use beating myself up. Society is already making me pay for my mistakes, and they won’t be satisfied until I’m finished paying out the nose.

I think of riding the ferris wheel. It looks like a large, golden circle lighting up the night sky. But what’s the point? I certainly won’t enjoy the view of flashy lights. Who knows, I might even throw myself off when I’m right at the top in order to forget my problems. The ferris wheel is a sick reminder that life takes us up, only to take us down again, and then up, and then down, and then up, and then when the ride is over we are down again instead of up. Death is a downer. So scratch that. In fact, none of the rides look interesting. This only reiterates that coming here was a waste of time and money.

Then my eyes fall onto something. It’s a tent glowing a pale green, and there is a sign on it which reads Madame Antoaneta: Wish Granter.

Should I step in? Why not! It’s not like I have anything else going on.

The same shade of pale green is inside the tent as outside. There are strings of lanterns hanging down with what looks like a green fire burning within; a nice special effect! Woven tapestries of stars, the moon, and of the sun are hung around the walls of the tent, and below my feet is a rug with the designs of leafy trees on it. A table is in the center, and behind it sits an old looking Romanian woman, minus the hairy warts that you so often get in stereotypes. She is wearing the traditional garb, though, a bandana around the head, golden circlets around her arms, a sari-like skirt with a piece of bright yellow fabric tied around it at the waist, and a white blouse.

“I have been expecting you,” she says.

“So, are you going to grant me my wish,” I phrase it more in a sarcastic manner than I do a question.

“If you wish me to do so, Robert Donavan.”

“What did you say?” I can’t believe she knows my name.

“Robert Donavan, age forty-three,” she speaks as if she were casually talking about the weather. “Your software business is failing, and will like your marriage.”

“Get out of town,” I nearly choke. “There’s no way you could know  all that.”

“There is,” she insists. “Your energy is written like a book, and those who train themselves can learn how to read it.”

This is unbelievable. If you had of asked me years ago – heck what am I saying – if you had of asked me just this afternoon, I would have said that fortune tellers were frauds. Then again, as far as I know she could still be a fraud. There’s always such a thing as a lucky guess. Still, I play along. The woman’s relentless. To prove her point that she’s the real deal, she tells me the exact date of when I started my company, and the name of it. I tell myself that she could have easily looked at my website online. This makes perfect sense. I have my picture on my software website, as well as the date I started my company, and of course my name is on there as the founder. As for trouble with my marriage, that’s just a lucky guess on her part. I mean, what entrepreneur or dreamer doesn’t have problems in their relationships? The list of divorces among the brilliant are endless.

“I know you’ve had financially difficulties,” she continues, and I wish that she’d shut up. “However, I can grant you one wish. Any wish you like.”

What the heck! Why not? It’s not like anything’s going to happen. “Sure,” I say, trying not to sound condescending.

“Are you sure?” Madame Ant- whatever hear name is – is looking at me intently.

“Why wouldn’t I be? Is there some sort of voodoo curse attached?”

“I’m not a practitioner of the dark arts,” the gypsy flares at me.

“Right, right, right!” I try to calm her down. Some people have no sense of humor. “Anyway, what is this string attached?”

“Your wish will only last for one day,” the gypsy holds up a finger to drive the point across, as though I’m deaf.

“Fine,” I say to her. “I wish for a pepperoni” –

I’m surprised when I feel her hand slap me hard against my face. Boy! She hits hard for an old lady. I rub my face, knowing full well it won’t make the sting go away.

“Don’t mock,” she says. “I know the troubles you face, but mocking will not ease the pain. Nor can you hide from your pain. You must face it. But before doing so, I’m giving you the opportunity to have one day of happiness. But don’t treat this lightly. Think about it, and then make a decision.”

Taking my hand in hers, she closes my hand around something that feels wooden and polished. I open my hand to find some sort of pendent carved like a box. There are strange symbols, of some sort of language, inked on all sides of it.

“When you are serious, then make your wish!” Her voice isn’t mellow, and she’s aggressively poking me in the chest. “Remember, your wish can only last for one day! So make that one day special!”

“Should I wish for money?” I ask.

“Do you find that wise?”

“How should I know?” I almost shout.

She’s looking at me sadly, and I hate it. I’m not asking for her pity. I try to give her a look back, indicating to her that I’m in no more mood for these shenanigans, but she doesn’t get the picture.

“What good would money do?” she asks. “You would only have that money for one day, and anything you do with that money on the one day you have it will all vanish by the next day.”

“Then what’s the point?” By now I’m exasperated. This is worse than only the three wishes rule.

She’s undeterred by my anger. “The point is to make that wish count. To make you appreciate that one day for a lifetime. Can you really appreciate being really rich for one day?”

“Maybe if that one day is spent getting drunk off fine wine, or spending it with blond bombshells, then yeah.”

“Those are superficial reasons,” she says. “Can you not think of anything more pure, more rewarding?”

“I have no idea,” I shrug.

“Exactly,” she agrees, “but after you give it much thought, you’ll know what you need.” 

“You don’t know what I need!” I shout.

If I think I can bring her to my level, I’m sadly made to look like a fool. She remains calm as she tells me, “You’re right, I don’t. But if you look in your heart, even if you have to do some deep searching, you will find what you’re looking for.” She sighs. “Now please, go think it over.”

And just like that I can’t get a word in edgewise, as this old gypsy, – the crone is stronger than she looks – is pushing me out of her tent, while trying to act polite about it.


………….

The rest of this short story can be read at https://www.booksie.com/475129-for-one-day

(C) Jonathan Scott Griffin

 

“Twilight of the Gods” Segment

As stated yesterday, I have been working on a collection of short stories. To those who are curious, here is the beginning of one of my stories from A Treasure Greater and Other Short Stories. This is a story that is very special to me. I present for your reading pleasure, the beginning segment of Twilight of the Gods.

Twilight of the Gods

Twilight was steadily encroaching upon the tall stone fortress that sat upon the grey cliffs and snow topped peaks of Mount Jybok. Upon the balcony of the stronghold stood what was once the imposing figure of Gyshtak, greatest of the gods. At one time he was a slayer of serpents, gargantuan three-headed wolves, dragons, and giants, but now he leaned tiredly upon the railing, his body worn out. The gold-jeweled winged helmet that he wore upon his head, which once felt light, now felt heavy. The setting sun bathed the chain of stony mountains in a faint gold. He looked straight down into the canyon, much of it obscured by clouds bathed red like wine, and thought of throwing himself into the abyss. It would certainly be a quicker way to die than to wait for the inevitable.

His kind were slowly dying.

In bygone days, bards sang praises to Gyshtak and the other gods in tavern halls, and poets in the forums recounted their tales in a poetry of words woven together like a brilliant tapestry coming to life. Children once prayed to them for their protection, and men and women sacrificed their cattle at the altars in which the smoke rose up as a sweet savor into the heavens. But those days were slowly vanishing. Seldom did people call on Gyshtak the Good, the god who molded men out of clay and breathed life into their souls, while giving them wisdom. Nor did people anymore appreciate his son Torgis, who spread his light among the world by riding a chariot pulling the sun. The lesser gods feared even worse, many of them sick, some already deceased due to unbelief.

“My Lord, my Lord,” cried a voice behind Gyshtak. It was Rubloh, the messenger.

Gyshtak looked wearily at the messenger god. “Why is it you disturb me? Cannot the Father of the Gods have this evening to himself?”

“My Lord, I pray forgiveness, but it’s important.”

The Father of the Gods addressed the messenger’s concern by averting his gaze into the sky. The remaining sunlight was now a faint sliver stretching across the horizon. Above the clouds the stars were peeking out, the jewels of Mydona’s tiara flung into the sky to give a little light for mankind.

“Tell me, Rubloh,” the old god slowly said to the messenger, “when was the last time you beheld the sky goddess’s jewelry?”

“I can’t remember,” the messenger god said at a loss.

“Of course you can’t,” Gyshtak sighed looking at him. “You’ve always been running, delivering messages to and fro, never giving yourself a moments rest.”

“What else could I do, my Lord? It’s my calling.”

“But it won’t be much longer, and you know this to be true. Our days are dying. Science and reason have brought so-called enlightenment to the people below.”

Rubloh cocked an eyebrow. “What do you mean by so-called enlightenment? Forgive me for being perplexed, my Lord, but are they enlightened or are they not?”

“They are enlightened in the sense that they now know how to cure most diseases. They are enlightened because they have made advances in science, finding out ways in which the world works. Yet they think worship is archaic, being the cause of past wars.”

“Has it not?” asked the messenger god.

“Aye, lad, it has,” Gyshtak god nodded gravely. “Yet in their arrogance they have assumed that just because they stop believing in us that war and hatred will cease. Many of the people have ceased to believe in us, and yet they still kill using some vain philosophy, or by a term called eugenics, and more often than naught in the names of greed and politics.”

Rubloh cleared his throat, eager to run again, though he couldn’t run as fast as he used to. It wasn’t long ago, in which he could run fast as twice as a cheetah, without tiring. Now he only ran half as fast as one. “My Lord, I hate to cut your ruminations short, but we have been called by Galdis to help fight off an encroaching group of giants. These beasts are enclosing in on the town of Hearthfire.”

“Galdis needs our help, does he?” said Gyshtak walking away from the balcony and into the throne room. The pillars, the floors, the walls, the ceiling, and the throne, were all carved and polished out of marble, and etched in different designs and symbols. White curtains cascaded down, like wispy waterfalls, from the ceiling. Wearily he sat down on his throne, his arms resting upon the lion carved out of the right arm of the chair, a wolf to the left.

“That’s what he has told me,” reiterated Rubloh.

“Cannot the people in their infinite wisdom help themselves?” Gyshtak pondered aloud.

“Shall I tell Galdis that he won’t have the honor of your presence?”

The Father of the Gods thought for a moment. “No,” he finally said. “I shall answer the call.”

True to his word, Gyshtak readied his chariot, hitching it to his best steed, the gold and silver stallion Jerot. With a crack of the whip, he flew over the mountains into the night towards Hearthfire. It took Gyshtak very little time to reach his destination. There were six giants surrounding the town, and yet everyone was oblivious as they rode their horseless carts, polished their store windows, and went about their business. On an overlook to the valley below, Galdis was standing vigilant, spear in in his right hand, and battle-axe on his left hip. From head to toe in armor he gleamed under the starlight.

Gyshtak brought his steed Jerot to a stop not far from the God of Battle.

“Hail, Father of the Gods,” Galdis saluted him, as Gyshtak dismounted off of his chariot.

“Hail, God of Battle,” said Gyshtak solemnly, for Galdis, like himself, was not in prime form anymore. The old god of battle was just that; old.  His once tawny-copper beard was now white, and wrinkles creased his battle worn face. Years past, Galdis had been rejuvenated after each battle. But now it looked as though his days of rejuvenation were over. He was growing worn out, not from battle itself, but from disbelief.

“What’s the situation thus far?” asked the Father of the Gods.

“The giants have been stomping in a circle on the outskirts of the town, getting ready to pounce,” Galdis scratched his beard.

“Have not the tremors alerted the people to their awful plight?”

“In a way it has, my Lord. But they don’t chalk it up to giants. No, rather they see it is caused by earthquakes.”

“Earthquakes!” exclaimed Gyshtak incredulously.

“Yes,” nodded Galdis. “Right now they say they are just experiencing some light tremors, but they are worried that the quakes will grow in intensity.”

“They will if we don’t put a stop to those giants,” cried Gyshtak, withdrawing his huge broadsword from its sheath. He had won the sword in a battle of wits against a giant, and what a prize it was with its engraved hilt of golden leaves, its jewel encrusted pommel, and its silver blade that could cut through rock and stone.

He paused a moment. The blade was much heavier than he remembered it. In fear, Gyshtak didn’t know how many swings he’d be able to take until he lost all strength.

“Tell me, Galdis, do we alone have the power to stem the onslaught?”

“Nay, my Lord,” said the God of Battle. “Yeroon and Cuawalyn have said they plan to enter the fray.”

“Why are they not yet here?”

“I am unsure,” Galdis shook his head.

But the question didn’t need to be asked. Both knew what caused their delay. Yeroon the God of Waters had aged even greater than many of the others had. It wasn’t any wonder why. The people had built steam-powered vessels that could dive like whales underwater, in hopes that they’d find Yeroon’s kingdom. But such was not the case, so they disavowed him as a false god. It was much harder now for Yeroon to ride his chariot pulled by sea serpents, as even the serpents were aging. But that wasn’t all that wore on the god of waters. For he was also the husband of Femelda, the sea goddess who sent out dolphins to save sailors, and who cared for the life of the sea. Yeroon spent many days and nights tending to his sickly queen. Though both felt dismayed by the lack of belief, Femelda took it even harder than her husband, to the point that she just stayed in her bed of seaweed. As for Cuawalyn, the Goddess of storms and steel, they always thought Yeroon sent his water up to her so that she could rain it upon the earth, but since they couldn’t find him, they figured she was a false goddess as well. Cuawalyn, who once used her cloak to fly through the air, bringing rain, had slowed down considerably. This was of no consequence to the people, though, as the storm clouds travelled without her regardless. What did they need a goddess for when clouds could make rain on their own? Cuawalyn was now primarily worshipped for teaching the people how to make steel weaponry.

“Father of All Gods,” spoke up Galdis. “We can’t dely. The giants are already shaking the city.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” Gyshtak sighed. “Let’s put an end to these demons of the abyss.”

If you like what you have read, then check out the full short story on https://www.booksie.com/475017-twilight-of-the-gods on Booksie.com.

(C) Jonathan Scott Griffin

My Upcoming Collection of Short Fantasy Stories

It’s been a long road, but I am getting close to self-publishing my first collection of short fantasy stories. Originally it was going to be entitled Magic in Every Corner, until I found that name was already taken. Then I thought of Enchantment All Around. However, my illustrator felt that the best title was one from one of my short stories entitled A Treasure Greater. Hence my collection will be entitled A Treasure Greater and Other Short Stories.

These stories will deal in both epic and urban fantasy. The stories included are

  1. A Brush with Reality: The story a magician’s apprentice who gets trapped in great works of art.
  2. Twilight of the Gods: An age in which humankind turns to science and the gods have to deal with their impending doom.
  3. For One Day: A divorced man struggling with finances is given the opportunity by a fortune teller to have one wish of his come true for a full day.
  4. Fire of my Father: A cowardly young girl must receiver her own vision quest from her father.
  5. Blue Bird in the Stain Glass Window: A lonely priest living by himself in a monastery up in the Swiss Alps must face his past.
  6. A Treasure Greater: A slave in a kingdom full of riches and treasures finds a true treasure through the Goddess.

Two of these short stories, Twilight of the Gods and For One Day can be read on my profile at Booksie.com.

As I’ve written these short stories I have noticed some common themes. Such themes include the loss of loved ones and being able to move boldly into the future. Other themes include the importance of the mythopoeic mind in the cold face of reason. I wonder what other common themes I have running through them which I am oblivious to, but that the reader may recognize.

Writing these stories has been a challenge, and I’m still not done with the editing process. However, I have made much headway after many sleepless nights.

Below is the cover illustration, without the title and my name inserted yet. This illustration was done lovingly by the most brilliant and talented Rowan Trea Mccarty. From the style of the illustrtion, the reader can see that we chose a timeless late 19th early 20th century art nouveau sort of style. I feel that the illustration presents a timeless quality.

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So, what do you all think?

To those who want a sneak peak by reading Twilight of the Gods and For One Day, they can be read here. https://www.booksie.com/users/jonathan-scott-griffin-182022

A Treasure Greater and Other Short Stories should be available for purchase in both traditional and e-book format by January of 2018.

(C) Jonathan Scott Griffin