In the shadowy area where myth and history collide
Back in early 2013, I was taking a walk and thinking about myth, legend (not the same thing!) and history. Don’t we all do that? Anyway, I had a little “aha” moment. Several things just seemed to gel and it all made perfect sense. Well, at least it did while I was still walking and not researching.
I don’t remember exactly what my thought process was, but I know I was thinking about some variation of the Cauldron of Resurrection (most likely the Gundestrup Cauldron), naked Celts, blue Celts, the Celtic Expansion across Europe and the Arthurian Legends. You know, typical walk thinking material.
OK, I hear what you are saying: Arthur was so much later than those other things. What did he have in common with the other pre-Roman ideas?
Well, my brain, for one.
I discovered Arthur when I was pretty young. I read Le Mort d’Arthur and The Once and Future King someplace between reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I read The Last Enchantment sometime in the early to mid-1980s and then the rest of that series. The Last Enchantment began my love affair of trying to find the legend buried in the history and the history behind the myth.
Oops, I need to backtrack for just a second. You see, before The Hobbit my favorite books were the Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander and so had the Welsh myths in at a young age. I read The Mabinogion for the first time as an old friend. Back to our current story…
About the same time I started reading myth in history and history in legend, I began to notice the ancient European cultures. My teachers had always taken the route that culture had slowly moved West, from Iran/Persia to Palestine to Turkey to Greece to Rome and then it died. Their version is that all of Europe was an uninhabited wasteland up until it was semi-Romanized, and then waste again until the late 11th century. But as I looked, I saw things like photos of the ruins of pre-Roman cities built on stilts over the water, just like in The Hobbit. And there were great fortresses and towers.
Perhaps some of that myth was real after all.
So started my reading. Besides the above mentioned The Mabinogion and other early texts, there were modern interpretations. I soon found too many that were written by Romantic authors that used obscure (unreliable? unknown?) sources and huge extrapolation of etymology (word origins) to come up with totally fantastical conclusions. For instance, did you know that there is proof that Aeneas settled Ireland? Yep, that’s right. Ireland is the continuation of Troy. It is given in great detail.
During this time period I developed my own take on the Arthurian Legends and extended it back to the very beginning of the Celtic Expansion, with a great sword leading the way. But then I read more books about Arthur and decided that every idiot with a new idea had to have their swing at the legends. I didn’t want to be just another in a long line of losers.
Fast forward to early 2013. On a long walk a lot of these myths, tales, legends and actually history swirled around and made a whole. I then decided to bring my wild take on Arthur into the mix, and it was even better.
Excitedly I ran home, my mind full of visions of cauldrons, the undead and swords. I immediately jumped on the computer and started to research.
Of course my idea was full of holes. How could it be any different?
At first I was heartbroken. But then I remembered those old books that took obscure and unreliable sources and made the wildest proposition seem like reality. I had my solution! I mulled it over in my mind (another walk) and my hero, Elliot, was born.
Once again all of those pieces: the myths, the legends, the history and those key pieces that were missing from all of the above, came together. It would work. I could even poke fun at people who rewrite the Arthurian Legends while simultaneously rewriting them!
I thought it through and made some decisions based on my inexperience, but finally had the book in my head. Sitting down at the computer in the early summer, I started to outline the story. But the outline came in sentences and paragraphs. I ploughed through and two months later, late August of 2013 (almost exactly 4 years ago), I wrote “The End”.
Such was the birth of The Fireborn.
The tale since then has grown even more twisted 😉
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About the author
I never decided what I wanted to do when I grew up. I compose and play music, draw and paint, take a lot of pictures, and yes, I write. I’ve written a couple of books that are sitting on my shelf waiting to go out and I write a new short story almost every week, which I often post on my blog, trentsworldblog.wordpress.com. I’ve collected some of the best short stories I’ve written and put them out as “Seasons of Imagination”.
I also like to eat, so I work as a computer nerd during the day while I figure out what it is I really want to do.
If you really need details, I was born and raised in Ohio by the shore of beautiful Lake Erie and now split my time between mountainous New Hampshire and the coast of Massachusetts.
One thing to know about me is that I hate to write bio-blurbs in the third person.
Find Trent’s books on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle
In the shadowy area where myth and history collide, an unlikely hero is forced to save the world from an ancient Celtic curse. Dr. Elliot Everett-Jones knows that shadowy area well, having spent most of his life exploring its dimensions as given by a host of unreliable sources and imaginative speculation. Some would say he daydreams over the improbable plots of second-rate Romantic era authors. These fantasies, however, come to life after the discovery of the Cauldron of the Dead. When the Cauldron produces the evil fireborn, Elliot is forced to confront an army of these mythic undead with nothing but his obscure knowledge and the hope of finding the legendary Lady of the Lake to give him Author’s sword. Even more frightening is the idea that he might have to confront his ex-wife, Eleanor. “The Fireborn” is part joyful romp through history, myth and legend, and part fast paced adventure set in modern England and New York. The entire book, though, revolves around Elliot’s relationships with a large variety of characters. These relationships form the key that may unlock the mystery or lead to utter defeat.
Trent P. McDonald’s Seasons of Imagination contains an eclectic mix of stories covering many places, times and even different genre, yet they all hold one thing in common, they are all about people. Be they silly, serious or speculative, all of the stories are about us. What makes us tick? Why do we say the things we do? Why do we react as we do?
So whether it seems the stories are exploring outer or inner space, in reality they’re always exploring the human space.
Here is an invitation to open the page and come with me to explore the Seasons of Imagination