Thursday, September 10, 2009

By The Power of Greyskull

Since I can remember I have been fascinated by all things Nerdtastic. My favorite cartoons as a child were those that dealt with the fantastic: He-Man and She-Ra, Scooby Doo, Thunder Cats, Super Friends, the Smurfs. Anything that had to do with magic was enough to make me sit up and pay attention. When I first saw Jim Henson's masterpiece, The Dark Crystal, I wanted to be a Gelfling (a girl Gelfling...they were cooler...they had wings). I wanted to ride on a Strider and fight the Skeksis. When I saw the Labyrinth, I wanted David Bowie to win. I was the Sorceress in He-Man, I used magic to fight Bamvmorda in Willow (CLIMANE! LUNANAR!)...simply put from Dungeons and Dragons to Magic the Gathering, I have been fascinated by fantasy.

In the 7th Grade I found a book underneath my desk called Spellfire by Ed Greenwood. The year before I had read the Hobbit for the first time, but Spellfire introduced me to the modern fantasy genre. From that day to this I have been hooked on speculative fiction. Though my tastes have matured from TSR's Dragonlance novels, I am happiest when I am lost in Jacqueline Carey's Terre D'Ange or wandering the stars with Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guine. Good fantasy (and sci fi, though I am not as big a fan as sci fi) tells us, using the metaphoric fantastic, about our world, how we face or fail to face the challenges we meet, and it gives us an opportunity to dream something different: Shangri-La, Utopia, Middle Earth post Sauron.

In Spring 2010, my first book will be out. It is a collection of my poetry. Less than a week ago I started on my second book: a novel. Drawing on some of my own past, I have started telling the story of a young man named Emanuel. Emanuel in some ways is me, but in so many other ways isn't. He is a separate entity, and I feel as if he is retelling a portion of my story but also telling his story. When I lay down to sleep at night, more of the story unfolds in my head, when I take a nap or a shower, when I am working out or jacking off, more and more of the story comes to the forefront. It is amazing.

I feel as if I am a channel for this fantastic child that lives in our world but walks in multiple worlds. So far I have discovered that he can interact with the dead. He can see spirits of the once living, and he can see beings that have never been alive in a human sense nor can they die. These others are spirits of place, the spirits of homes, natural spirits, tricksters, goblins, fairies, those other creatures that have come down to us from the stories of our ancestors, except, in Emanuel's world, he is just discovering that they are real. Or he very soon will. At the same time he is trapped in a home with a mother that is being violently abused by her husband. He is the six year old knight protector of his infant brother. His body bears the scars of his stepfathers impotence and anger.

I can't wait to find out what happens next.

I can already tell that this story is huge. This is just the beginning, the story of his young life, how he comes to understand or fight against his gifts, his connection with his greater family, an awareness of himself, of his sexuality, of his own power and limitations, of his responsibility and his own ugliness. And, ultimately, his own beauty. He is me but he is himself, and I have no idea where the story is going to end. Or if it does.

I only know that it feels super right. I have tried writing fiction in the past. I have attempted to create worlds on paper, fantastic creatures, and amazing mages...but, in the end, the character that came to me was a little mixed kid, living in Northern Minnesota that discovers that there is magic and power right here in our own world.


  1. Ok. First of all, you cannot "summon a red dragon" with a D20. 2ndly you cant beat a lvl 15 cleric with a lvl 20 mage since clerics usually have smite or fireball.
    Ugh get it right mary. :)

  2. You can if you had researched and perfected my level 7 Summoning Spell: Call Random Beast.

    And, a 20th level mage would totally WHOOP a 15th level Cleric's ASS. They would have access to 2 level 9 spells. One good meteor shower and that cleric is toast.

  3. PS Clerics can't cast Fireballs! That's a Lvl 3 Mage Spell.


  4. Dude! "The Power of Greyskull" is from "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". I'm no D&D geek, but I wasn't aware that the two mythos' crossed over. :)

    I just saw the intro for the first time in decades on YouTube:

    OMG, that's some serious cheesy animated beefcake - I can't believe I actually spent hours watching this, and even purchased He-Man action figures... I think my bro and I even had a Castle Greyskull ourselves at one point!

    Another thing that's hard to believe: there is apparently a DVD Box Set of the Thundercats series (every episode) - it was advertised as an overlay on that clip... horrifying to contemplate that there are enough psychotic individuals willing to part with cash to justify creating it. :)

  5. Thomas Leavitt...I know that By The Power of Grey Skuill comes from He-Man.

    For the HONOR of Greyskull is what She-Ra said.

    And yes...D&D nerds loved He-Man

  6. I've been reading your journal without commenting, but I had to say something today. It's so cool to get that overpowering inspiration to write! I bet we read a lot of the same books when we were kids (as well as played D&D). I still read some fantasy and a tiny bit of Sci Fi but my tastes have grown up a lot too. Below are some of the best books I've ever read. I tried to recommend little known stuff, but you're sure to have read a few of them. I put an asterisk next to one book in each category, indicating where to start. Share some of your favorites one of this days!

    Kai in NYC

    Books that let black people have the adventures:
    Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson
    *The Good House, Tananrive Due
    The Living Blood, Tananrive Due
    The Salt Roads, Nalo Hopkinson

    Books that let queer people have the adventures:
    Mind fuck, Manna Francis
    Chicago Red, R.M. Meluch
    *Wraeththu, Storm Constantine
    The Cage, S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier

    Huge, difficult (but GREAT!) books that will challenge you:
    *Dhalgren, Samuel Delany
    Jonathan Strange and Mister Norell, Susanna Clarke

    Boy books (Plot! adventure! coolness!)
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (and sequels)
    *The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie (and sequels)

    Girl books (Depth! Character! Intense atmosphere!)
    *The Bone Doll's Twin, Lynn Flewelling
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    Magnificent and Uncategorizable:
    *The Road, Cormac McCarthy
    A Distant Soil, Collen Doran
    Sharp Teeth, Toby Barlow
    Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner

    (need someone to bounce ideas off of with the story? let me know!)

  7. Heya Kai!

    Thanks for the book list. I am actually unfamiliar with those books. I will check them out though.

    I will also, at some point soon, post a book list for you all to check out!

    Thank you for reading!



Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and insights. And thank you for reading!