On Being a Forest Troll

“To live is to war with trolls.”
― Henrik Ibsen

On being an ancient troll… 

Ibsen was wrong, to live is to war with humans as a troll.

I guess if I had to align myself with a folkloric creature it’d be the ancient “nature beings” they termed trolls. Growing up in a semi-desert in West Texas I always longed for the forests and mountains. Being a loner by nature I’ve been at times accused of being churlish, curmudgeonly, and an old mountain troll. Harold Bloom accused Henrick Ibsen of being a Troll. If so, then I’m a Troll as well. Yet, unlike that old crusty and mean-spirited Schopenhauer who truly was a curmudgeon in old age, I am way too comic showing both sides of the ancient equation: fierce stubbornness and a keen intellect, along with a farcical and trickster sense of humor that sees most humans as caught up in a game they little understand and much less have any control over. Fatalist in the sense that I agree with the old myths that we all have a destiny, some choose to go against it their whole lives and yet end up fulfilling it whether they will or not, others choosing to take the bull by the horns and go with it living out a strange and bewildering life full of laughter, grotesquerie, horror, and dismay – and, yet, full of a sense of love and deep affective rapport with the natural world and its darkness. I choose that and nothing else. I never did fit in. Was always on the outside looking in. Never a part of the human game except in mimicking its world I wandered like a forest troll amid the dark wonders of the world. I still do.

©2023 Art by S.C. Hickman

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