“Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us that are squires of the night’s body be called thieves of the day’s beauty. Let us be Diana’s foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon, and let men say we be men of good government, being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.”
― King Henry IV, Part 1
If I just had time and youth…
But it’s alright, I did my share of traveling both in reality and in books in my life. It’s not so much nostalgia as it is there is so much more to know, to learn, to live, to love, to be and become… that’s why I’m both a pessimist and not; I’m a complex creature who doesn’t fit into any categories, never have. Dam it! Being multiple – or, a multitude is like living in a living zoo, I’m never sure just where one of these creatures I am is going to go next. Maybe that’s the point, to be free is to just allow this thing we are to live. Yet, without the discipline of thinking and doing this menagerie would obviously have landed me in an asylum long ago. Poetry, philosophy, the handmaids of history and all the various aspects of culture have allowed me to run the gambit of existence; and, yet, I want more, always more. Bloom said of such creatures as Falstaff (Shakespeare) and Vautrin (Balzac) that they were the bookends of the great Vitalists: those who had more energy than they knew what to do with… and that the unlived life was the great enemy of both. Both were extremists and criminals, vitalist’s who could not be held to the strict rules governing the normalcy of their cultures. Maybe all outlaws in the end are those who cannot be bound by the codes that would trap them in false worlds… or, at least the literary Outlaws. Real one’s are just failed mongrels of existence…
As I work on my fantasy trilogy I’ve been rereading various frame-tale literature from the Arabian Night’s Tales, the Hoshruba (Urdo Epic), Somadeva’s Tales from the Kathasaritsagara and so much more.
The Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism is the world’s first and longest magical fantasy HOSHRUBA (www.hoshruba.com) was compiled in the Urdu language by two of its greatest prose writers. Spread over eight thousand pages, it reached the summits of popularity and acclaim never attained by any other epic in the history of Urdu literature. But the richness of its language and its length deterred translations for more than 125 years. In this first translation of this iconic fantasy by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, whose translation of THE ADVENTURES OF AMIR HAMZA was hailed by the international press as a gift to world literature, we enter the magical world of Hoshruba, conjured in the untold past by sorcerers defying the laws of God and the physical world. Filled with dazzling illusions and occult realms inhabited by powerful sorceresses and diabolic monsters, Hoshruba had a fixed life, and a designated conqueror who would use its magical key to unravel it one day. The first book of the HOSHRUBA series begins with the giant Laqa entering Hoshruba’s protection, and its sorcerer emperor finding himself at war with Laqa’s arch fiend, Amir Hamza the Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjunction, who pursues the giant with his numerous tricksters and a young prince – the yet to be known conqueror-designate of Hoshruba. When the prince is kidnapped by the devious trickster girls sent by the sorcerer emperor, it falls to an extraordinary trickster and a rebel sorceress to continue his mission.
Somadeva’s Kathasaritsagara, a classic work of Sanskrit literature that features many memorable characters. Within the pages of this book, you will encounter demons and demi-gods, faithful guards and foolish villagers, golden swans, magic pots and even automatons made of wood! Adapted and wonderfully retold by Rohini Chowdhury, this is a timeless classic that will both entertain and enchant.
And, if you’ve not read it The Arabian Nights: Tales of a 1,001 Nights. From Ali Baba and the forty thieves to the voyages of Sinbad, the stories of The Arabian Nights are timeless and unforgettable. Published here in three volumes, this magnificent new edition brings these tales to life for modern readers in the first complete English translation since Richard Burton’s of the 1880s.
As I do research on this trilogy I’m working through works on the Silk Road, Central Asia, the worlds of Mughals, Islam, Persia, China, Mongols; along with the dark and mystical literatures of these ancient lands. One of the main features in my own work will be incorporating the magickal traditions of the Jinn. Works like Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn by Amira El-Zein and others provide me a focused and scholarly study of these creatures who much like the more demonized literature of Western Christendom on demons is both unlike and like. In the sense of Sufi literature the Jinn are creatures who inhabited the earth before humankind much like our notions of fairy of Celtic and other pre-indigenous cultures of Old Europe. And, yet, the Jinn are different in that they are still a living part of Islamic culture and live in an intermediate realm with their own hierarchy and society, existing between us and the Angelic realms (at least in Islamic thought!). Either way there has always been a fascination with these creatures of smoke and fire, the embellishment of ancient sorceries, magick, and epic tales and narratives.
We’ll see where it leads…