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Five Rules of Fellowship (the Questing Kind)

We’ve read ’em, we love ’em, we want more of ’em.  Those books where a rag-tag group of people journey with each other towards a destination, a quest, a mission – an adventure.  These are my favourite kind because we are treated to – not only an epic adventure – but a view of relationships, evolution of mind, heart and spirit and sacrifices made when we enter into these types of stories.  I call these Fellowship stories because they always contain a group of three or more people travelling together towards a goal.  We all are familiar with the Lord of the Rings – probably the most well-known Fellowship story of all. As I’ve read these types of books over the years, I’ve come to notice 5 unspoken rules about Fellowship stories.  But before we get into them, what do I mean by fellowship?

Fellowship is defined as:

1. the state of sharing mutual interests, experiences, activities, etc

So in the case of these stories, the mutual interest is a focused goal, usually to save the world, destroy the one ring, defeat evil, fight zombies, find a cure,  and so on.  The mutual experiences and activities are the challenges the group faces on their journey.  I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t love the Fellowship type stories, whether they be a movie or a book.  It is compelling to witness how a group stays strong or dissolves due to circumstances outside of their control.  We see the true nature of character in group dynamics; who is lacking courage, who has malice in their heart, who is loyal, loving and brave.  I am drawn to these types of stories (as I am sure we all are) because let’s face it, we are drawn to each other – we humans need each other.  As an introvert I revel in solitude – but only for so long.  Eventually I will seek human companionship.  We create fellowships for ourselves without our even knowing it – our group of friends/family who we spend the most time with.  We recognize ourselves in these stories, relating to one or two characters within.  Who we cheer for, who we mistrust, who we miss when they are gone from the story can reveal something of our inner selves.

Let’s dive in to the five rules shall we?

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The Five Rules of Fellowship:

  1. There must always be a group of three or more people
    • It can start out as one or two but eventually, a group of three or more is formed along the way
  2. There must be a journey with a mission involved 
    • the journey has to be a physical one towards a destination (with the added bonus of an emotional and spiritual journey developing along the way)
    • the mission usually involves saving the world, kingdom, city, country, another being or soul
  3. The group gets separated along the way 
    • either by choice or by force
    • it can be the entire group splitting or it might just be one or two people who leave the group
  4. Someone in the group eventually (*usually) betrays another 
    • betrays the whole group or an individual
    • this betrayal might be forced (blackmailed or seduced by power)
    • betrayal might also by by choice (they put themselves before the group to save their own ass)
    • * I say usually because not every Fellowship story has a betrayal – though most do
  5. Someone in the group will eventually sacrifice themselves for the group
    • it could be the betrayer who redeems themselves in the end with an unselfish act
    • the sacrifice is usually made so the rest of the group can be saved to finish their journey

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These are the 5 rules I’ve observed that are standard throughout each story.  Is there a rule you have observed that I haven’t listed?  If so, I would love to know.  Write it down in the comment section below.

To end this post I want to list the books of an author who writes a lot of Fellowship stories.  Stephen King.  He loves them and I love him for loving them.  His Fellowship stories are:

  • IT
  • The Cell
  • The Stand
  • Stand by Me
  • The Mist

Other Fellowship stories I’ve read that follow the above rules?

  • The Passage Trilogy – Justin Cronin
  • Dies the Fire – S.M. Stirling
  • Swan Song – Robert McCammon
  • The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  • The Walking Dead (graphic novels) – Robert Kirkman
  • The Braided Path – Chris Wooding
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series – George R.R. Martin
  • Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle
  • Fire of Heaven Trilogy – Russell Kirkpatrick

I know I’ve read many throughout the years and can’t remember them all – but these are the ones that stick out in my head. What Fellowship stories have you read?  I would love to know so I can add them to my To Read list.

 

This post brought to you by the letter F and the A to Z Challenge.

King For a Day – Artists pay tribute to Stephen King

Oh glory of glory!  I loved going through the beautiful, haunting and downright creepy art paying tribute to the dark awesomeness that is Stephen King’s work.

The Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles is featuring art work dedicated to the literary work of the King of Macabre and rightfully so – his work is filled with imagery and iconic characters that can inspire endlessly.

Here are listed 2 of my favourites (and a 3rd that scares the shit out of me) but you can check them all out on their website.  All proceeds are going to charity.

Cujo by Sara Richard 

(This image makes me sad)

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Brooks Was Here by Cuyler Smith

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And the one that creeps me out the most

They All Float Down Here by Patrick Connan

(I dedicate this one to my sister Kelly who is scared of clowns)

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My name, my name – a book for my name

I have no idea what the title of this post means.  I don’t even know why I wrote it but I can’t think of a better one.

But lookey what a colleague of mine sent me in email today:

annette-whitman-book-vintage-1961-annette-funicello-c2fc6

This is awesome because my name is Annette.

(I’ve just revealed something private to you people so you better not abuse it!)

This is a bit of a novelty for me since not too many people have this name and most women who do, are my mother’s age.  I have yet to meet another Annette in their 30’s.  Are you out there 30-something Annette?  If you are, message me and then we can get together over coffee and read this dandy book together.  (And no, I wasn’t named after the plucky Mouseketeer you see smiling above who is not letting the fact that a red car is trying to knock her off a cliff and kill her get to her.)

Do you think Annette gets away from the red car?  Do you think she solves the mystery at the Desert Inn?  Well let me tell you, if she’s anything like me – probably not.  She probably just shut her door to her hotel room and began reading the new Stephen King book.

Okay Annette’s – you out there?  Let’s start an Annette book club and we ONLY read books that have Annette in the title.

A moment on a bus where a dad and his daughter give me peace

I was on the bus today heading to work and a delightful sight was right next to me.

A little girl, probably about 6 years old, reading a book.  She was intense, into it, never looked up.  And next to her; her father.  He was young, had young eyes but his face looked old.  Probably the worries of the world on his shoulder as such a young dad.  His dusty, dirty clothing spoke of a construction or factory job he was heading to.  Both of them were reading.  The little girl with her book about the adventures of a group of animals and her father, a Stephen King novel.  I watched them out of the corner of my eye, finding peace with the sight.

I decided to pull out my own book.  As I was seated right next to them on the side seat, the little girl saw me pull my book out and when our eyes locked for a few seconds, she smiled at me.  One reader’s soul recognizing another’s.  We were part of a secret club in that moment.

I turned to my book though I couldn’t concentrate because this little girl had my attention once more.  She turned to her dad, to the book he was reading and commented on the artistic picture within, asking her dad what was happening.  He began to tell her about the Stephen King story, what it was about.  She listened attentively, asking him questions.  He then asked her what her book was about and she began to tell him.  And he listened attentively.

What a moment.  The father describing a scary story from the imagination of Stephen King followed by the little girl talking about how Joe, the horse, ran away from his parents.

This rough looking, tired looking young dad was my hero in that moment.  He was asking her questions about the characters in her book and she excitedly chattered on.  A conversation about books between a father and daughter.  It was obvious both of them had a love for reading and they shared this easily on the bus.  I wondered more about this young dad.  He looked like he had a hard life (if you could go off of looks alone).  Maybe not a lot of money, living simply.  But she had a brand new book in her hands by the look of it.

I thought about my own mother, a single mom, who never denied us new books.  She had to work 2 jobs to put food on our table, but she never denied us the opportunities to read.  She may have had a hard time sharing affection with us, but she never failed to read to us when we were young.

My independent mind, the openness of it – I contribute it to reading and being allowed to read what I wanted, being encouraged to read.  I contribute it to my mother.

I wondered if this young father knew of the amazing job he was doing.  By asking questions of his daughter about her book he was showing her how important her young, thinking mind was.  He was showing her that he cared about what she thought, her opinions.  He is contributing, encouraging and nurturing the independence of this young girl.  Simply by caring about what she is reading.

For a week that was filled with a lot of negativity for me, this was a wonderful way to end it.

My stop came before theirs.  I put my book away and got up from my seat and headed towards the door.  As I was leaving I turned back once more, to take a last look at the two of them.  They both were back to their own books – father and daughter – heads down, book in lap, and far away from the rest of the world.

daddy-daughter-journaling

If I didn’t fear clowns before, I kinda do now

Have you seen this?!

Pennywise lives!: Stephen King’s evil Clown seen haunting Northampton’s streets

I haven’t been this creeped out since the cover of Eutopia stared at me in the book store.

I read IT when I was in my early teens and that son-of-a-bitch clown was terrifying.  The television show based on Stephen King’s novel, not so terrifying, but Pennywise played by Tim Curry WAS.

That’s the brilliance behind Pennywise, you take a wonderful childhood icon and throw in some sharp teeth, a psychotic mind and a taste for the blood of children, and you have Pennywise.  We are all secretly afraid of clowns, aren’t we?

Ah, but the child within is squealing with terrified glee – there is something magical about being afraid isn’t there?  Admit it.  No?  Just me?  Okay, well I might have to see a professional for that then.

But let’s take another look – we are heading towards Halloween after all.

Creepy Clown stalks UK town

oooohhhhh….goosebumps.

I might just pee my pants if I saw this standing outside on my street at night.

But you all haven’t come here for the scare-fest – you have come here to learn something.  So here you go.

Coulrophobic.  The fear of clowns.  Now sleep well my pretties.

creepy clown of northampton

 

Not all clowns are creepy and I don’t mean to generalize.  Many clowns have been known to bring laughter and smiles to children.  Many people have made a good living as a clown.  Clowns help support our economy.

The Rhythm of Reading

Books hold a rhythm for me, a beat that becomes part of my enjoyment of a story.  Words and sentences within the pages of a book have a melody and though it may not be a melody that can be heard by the ear, it is certainly one that can be heard (and felt) nonetheless.

Like a musical note of an arrangement, each word has its place within the story, a place where it makes sense, where it won’t cause dissonance in the fluid telling of the tale.  Perhaps that is why writers will go back and cross out a sentence or scratch out a word; it doesn’t fit the melody.

As I read a new book by a new author, I look forward to getting to know their rhythm.  They are the composers of the piece and each author has a distinct ‘feel’ to their voice.  Some authors write in such a way that their stories have a soft, rocking lullaby type rhythm to them, such as Alice Hoffman and Jodi Picoult.  Other authors tell their stories through accented, staccato beats; the language and thoughts breaking off in melodic snippets such as David Maine or Margaret Atwood.  Pulsing, dramatic and elongated rhythms are what I hear when I read a good ol’ Stephen King novel.

The more I read (and the more new authors I read), the more I begin to ‘hear’ the different rhythms within the book.  This is a large part of why I always read the first page of a book before deciding to buy it.  Since the synopsis on the back of a book is rarely ever written by the author themself you certainly can’t determine the rhythm of the book by reading that alone.  The first page will usually give me a sense of the rhythm and, if the mood is right and it resonates with me, I will buy the book.  Now, I say usually because it has happened where the rhythm gets broken throughout the book.  Perhaps the author lost interest in the story, or maybe the author wasn’t certain what they wanted to say.  Regardless of the reason, we have all experienced those stories where we become bored, frustrated even at where it is leading us.  For me it is the breaking up of the rhythm.  The starting and stopping, the wrong notes and flat pitches that lead to the story’s disharmony.  It is striking the wrong chords within.

I keep the books of authors that have rhythms that resonate with me.  I know their sound, feel and their tone.  Like listening to your favourite song when you want to be uplifted, so too do I pick up a well read book, knowing it’s rhythm is exactly what my soul needs.

I love music and I love reading, yet I can’t listen to music while I read.  I’ve since come to realize it is because of the rhythms hidden within books.  Sometimes they don’t harmonize with the song playing on my stereo and I end up getting pulled out of the story.

My love for reading is multi-layered as it is a quantum experience (to me at least).  Energy is all around us, within us, is us and as I’ve said in this blog before; a book chooses us as much as we choose it.  This makes sense when you stop to consider the rhythm within a book.  If my energy is pulsing out a certain ‘feel’ it is safe to say that a book of the same pulse will attract me to it, lull me in.  Perhaps this is why I take my time when I am book shopping.

I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone but me but a book to me isn’t just about the words.  The amazing thing about books is that they actually do engage all the senses.  Each book has its own taste, feel, look, smell and sound – that is what makes up the magic of books.

Even snobs have guilty pleasures

As an admitted book snob I will also take the time to admit my guilty pleasure in reading.

Horror.

Unapologetic, spicy, icy-cold horror.

And the king of horror is King himself.  I haven’t strayed too far from Stephen King when it comes to horror – I’ve tried others but none can do it like him.  He mixes gore with spirituality like ice cream and blue berries.  How does he do it?

The ultimate book in King’s repertoire that I’ve read has to be The Stand.  King himself has said that this was his Lord of the Rings.  Yes, I could see Frodo taking on the Walking’ Dude.  There is just something so awful about Randall Flagg – I swear he has been in my nightmares, casually hanging out, watching to see what I do.  The thing that freaks me out about the Walkin’ Dude is he often shows up in most of King’s books and is always so damn charismatic.  I’ve always thought evil, if ever I met it, would present itself as charismatic.

What has been the epitome of a good horror book for you?

LOL Cats

Read….if you dare.

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