It’s been a productive couple of months for me, Dargon-wise. This tends to make me feel very good, and good feelings about Dargon create more enthusiasm for me to do more in Dargon. It’s a nice circle. It can be difficult, however, to maintain the enthusiasm when creativity ebbs, so one method I use to kick start the old creative juices is to revisit ancient works that I never finished. We all have them: the aborted efforts of good intentions. We’ve all sat at our desks, somewhere in time, and hacked out a bunch of text that we honestly intend to work into a story, or use as a complete story all its own, only to have it remain stagnant, untouched, and even avoided for fear of having to face the reality that we just don’t know what to do with it, or don’t feel the passion for the idea that got us started on it in the first place.
“So, there I was, there I was, there I was … in the Congo” — or, reading through my “unfinished tales” as Mr. Tolkien might call them — and I stumbled upon a collection of stories and pieces I can hardly remember reading, let alone writing. Clearly they were mine: the grammatical errors alone told me that. But they showed me two incredible things that I really appreciated. The first was how much my writing has grown over the years, because to be completely honest, I would consider it a great favor if someone could wipe a lot of my earlier creations from my memory. (Heck, Jon, I won’t even wipe them from the archives. – Liam) On the other hand, as atrocious as much of it was, there was certainly some creativity, threading, plot development, and characterization that would do well to be unearthed, revamped, and actually worked on. Not all in the same pieces, of course — it was like looking through a bunch of piles of coal and finding little bits of diamond scattered through each one, never enough to make one particular pile worth anything, but if a single pile could be made of all the shiny bits, it might be worth something.
Now, normally I would ask the readership, “what do you do when …” or “how do you feel about …” but I know from past experience that either no one reads these Editorials, or at the very least, no one is willing to take the time to respond to them. Instead, I’ll ask the authors out there — Dargon or otherwise — when you’re at a creative crossroads, what do you do? I’ll be happy to take responses and work them into next issue’s Editorial.
So, onto something a little more relevant to the current issue, namely: the stories in this issue. Our first story is from Keith English, one of our newer authors who has really stepped up and taken the bull by the horn, as it were. His first story, And Two Steps Back, appeared in our pages at the turn of the year, and now he’s back with a three part story. Part one of Sowing Seeds leads off this issue. The second story is the last of the Summit Challenge stories from 2012 — better late than never. Harvest Ale, by yours truly, is a character story about Duke Clifton Dargon that ties directly into the Justin series, the Doravin, and a couple of other plot lines.