Through my posts here--my shared musings, opinions, imaginings, and updates--I hope you will come to know me a little better. Feel free to share your thoughts using the comments function. This "Welcome" page contains the text of the first few posts from the blog.
In addition to "My Own Little World," I currently maintain the following sites:
- Tornalia.com, which focuses specifically on my books, stories, and invented world
- my Google Plus site, (mostly private) which I'm not entirely sure what to do with yet
- my Facebook site, (mostly private) which I occasionally post to, but primarily use to find out what my friends are up to
- I occasionally blog at Daily Kos (as slb36cornell) and frequently comment at Political Wire (under an assumed name)
- I post book reviews at Goodreads
- I do not "tweet" and I am not "LinkedIn." A man's got to draw the line somewhere!
"Tornalia" is the name of the fantasy setting in which most of my books and stories take place. You can find out all about Tornalia at the official site, Tornalia.com, which is up and running although still very incomplete.
Tornalia is designed to be both traditional and unique as far as epic fantasy settings go. On the one hand, I wanted to utilize certain common fantasy elements such as elves, dwarves, goblins, and dragons. I believe that these things are popular for a reason, and even though they are someone out of fashion in contemporary fantasy literature, I feel that people would enjoy reading about them as long as they are presented in a way that is unique, compelling, and believable, but also true in spirit to the traditional form.
On the other hand, I wanted to do away with some other fantasy tropes: a dark lord, routine divine intervention, miracles, prophecy, destiny, absolute good and evil--as far as these things are concerned, Tornalia is very much like our world, which is to say that either these things do not exist, or if they do exist, it is in a diminished way that leaves them more or less hidden from our ability to comprehend them. Instead, the focus is on individual actions as the primary forces that shape the fates of people and nations.
The magic system follows consistent rules that are inspired by the laws of science and nature. Magic is a natural phenomenon in Tornalia rather than a supernatural one. It is balanced in such a way that doesn't allow magic to completely dominate society, but still leaves room for magic to have an enormous impact.
Have you ever taken a personality test? My favorite one is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey (closely related to, and more or less compatible with, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). Keirsey tells me that I'm type INFP, the Healer. INFP's are one of the rarest of the 16 types, perhaps only 1% of the general population. According to Keirsey, we are "hard to get to know" and have "an unusually rich inner life." I think this is true in my case, which is a large part of the reason for this blog.
The letters INFP refer to: Introvert (as opposed to Extrovert), iNtuitive (as opposed to Sensing), Feeling (as opposed to Thinking), and Perceiving (as opposed to Judging). In other words:
- I tend to prefer solitude and interactions with a few close friends to socializing with many people
- I'm more drawn to imagination and possibility than to the sensible and practical
- I tend to value emotion and personal impact over logic and principles
- I prefer the open-ended, unstructured, and unplanned over the closed, organized, and scheduled
Keirsey divides his 16 types into four temperaments: Idealists (NF), Rationals (NT), Guardians (SJ), and Artisans (SP). INFP's fall into the Idealist category. Keirsey describes Idealists as being obsessed with introspection--we are on a quest not only to discover one's true self but to become one's true self. As such, we are probably more likely than others to find pleasure and significance in this sort of personality test. Supposedly, the other three temperaments can understand each other rather well, but find Idealists puzzling. Aside from their introspective nature, Idealists usually also value integrity and compassion. Idealists often wind up with careers in creative writing, journalism, teaching, counseling, and religious work.
According to Keirsey notable INFP's include George Orwell, Princess Diana, and Aldous Huxley. Among fictional characters and historical figures, Joan of Arc and Sir Galahad exemplify the type. Some say Shakespeare was an INFP; at any rate, his character Hamlet certainly can be viewed that way.
If you are interested, you can take the official test yourself, although you'll need to pay to get the full results. If you don't want to pay, you can at least find out which of the four temperaments you belong to for free. Or, if you look around, you can probably find an unofficial free one that will sort you into one of the sixteen types.
More information can be found on Wikipedia (of course) or in Keirsey's book, Please Understand Me (there's also an updated version called Please Understand Me II).