September 18, 2019


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. Regarding Fantasy, this insight was startling: “I see the fantasy genre as an ever-shifting metaphor for life in this world, an innocuous medium that allows the author to examine difficult, even controversial, subjects with impunity. Honor, religion, politics, nobility, integrity, greed—we’ve an endless list of ideals to be dissected and explored. And maybe learned from.” – Melissa McPhail.

Fantasy Trope: The Mundane World versus the Magical World (

A Library to rival the one at Alexandria is nearly done in the center of the Sahara in the Erg of Bilmah. The dark forces of America: Jersey Devils, Yuma Skeletons, Wampus Cats, Bigfoot, Headless Horsemen, Mosquitoes, Trickster Coyotes, Maids in the Mist and Pecos Bill and his legions have been unable to stop the mundane efforts of a young man in America as he makes his way to the Library with a powerful book of spells. It’s now us to the forces of the legendary Sahara: mummies, Ewaipanoma, monster scorpions, giant Desert Rattlers, raging sandstorms, the Kelb-el-Khela and an abiku sent to steal him before he gets old enough to stop him from bringing to book to the Library and locking it away for all time…

Na’Rodney Jones Castillo-Vargas Daylight Hatshepsut – known as Na’Rodney to his friends...when he had friends. He shook his head. He had a mission. He hiked his pack up on his shoulders. They’d escaped the dearrs outside of Ely. They’d eventually made it to what remained of the city of Duluth. Selling a first edition copy of Stephen King’s novel, CARRIE had gotten them enough to pay their way as they hitchhiked south to the future Vertical Village of Minneapolis St Paul

Angelique Mary Ozaawindib, longtime friend of his great uncle’s and now the bane of his existence, muttered, “I thought we were supposed to buy transportation south.”

“We’re going south. I think we should save our money.”

“That’s because you have a good pair of walking boots.”

“You could have brought yours. G’uncle had a pair of them in the shelter.”

She snorted as they crunched through pile of dried leaves. Farther north, where they’d started, the burned-out remains of the home he’d grown up in lay on the outskirts of Ely. Farther behind them, silent but obedient, his brother Payne – not really his brother, his second cousin or something like that, G’uncle Bruce had never been real clear on their relationship – had walked tirelessly. Na’Rodney shot a look over his shoulder. Angelique said, “He’ll be all right, Rod.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with him,” he said faintly. The last thing in the world he wanted to do was appear weak in front of Angelique. Not because he cared what she thought of him, but because somebody had to lead their group and it sure as heck wasn’t going to be Payne or Angelique! He said, “I don’t know where he got all those wild ideas about wampus cats, Pecos Bill, and...”

Though he’d been silent for miles, Payne spoke up now, “They’re all real, Na’Rodney! They’re out to get us! To get you! They don’t like the books you’re carrying. They don’t want us to go to the Erg of Bilma!”

Na’Rodney and Angelique stopped in their tracks and turned slowly to face Payne. He was looking at both of them. His eyes were wide; the pupils nearly black. Rod stepped back  to Payne, holding out his hands. “What did you say, Payne?”

“They don’t want us to go, Na’Rodney! They want us to go back home.”

Na’Rodney looked back at Angelique, then at Payne, “Payne. Listen to me. Bruce is gone.”

“When will he get back?”

“He won’t be coming back,” Na’Rodney said, hanging  his head. How could he make Payne understand?

Suddenly, Payne said, “G’uncle’s dead, Rod. I know that. But the things – the American ghosts and monsters – they don’t want us to go. They want to kill us.” His eyes grew wider momentarily, seemed to glow and abruptly a darker, deeper, gravelly voice came from his mouth and said...

Names: ♀ French, Hebrew, Ojibwe; ♂ African American, English, Mexican, English, Egyptian

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