August 4, 2014

Influences

I was looking over my map of Weslande (my fantasy world I’m building around the story of I, Godslayer) and I saw that I had made a massive cathedral made of crystal in the middle of a vast desert. I was sort of surprised (I don’t remember doing it, but I make so many maps I wouldn’t be surprised if I did it while half-asleep) and started thinking about other maps I’ve made over the years. Since I’m a pack rat with regards to notebooks and such (I have almost 80 notebooks with random story ideas, notes, city designs, etc), I figured I’d go check to see how many maps have some sort of crystalline cathedral mentioned. When I got done going through them all, uh… yeah.

Every. Single. One.

Wow. Talk about commitment.

But then I started thinking about my childhood, and what influences subtly guided me to add some sort of cathedral like this. It was pretty obvious in hindsight.

Growing up in group homes, I never had a sort of geographical or architectural “anchor” to a place. 26 groups homes in 7 years will do that to you. But while I bounced around from home to home, there was one home I usually ended back at (albeit for a brief time only). I think I ended up there about 10 times. It was also my first ever “group home”, a place that was (once) called The Albert Sitton Home (funny story: when I first arrived there, I was confused and wasn’t sure what was going on (I’d been yanked from school). When the intake staff told me the name of the place, I got upset. I said “You mean all you do here is sit?!” I was a very literal sort of kid). I don’t remember much about the place the first time I was there except that it was the first time I was really fed well. I also remember being able to look out my dorm window and seeing, faintly, this large glowing tower with a blinking light on top of it.

For a kid who was seriously messed up in the head and nobody offering any sort of explanation (I knew what had happened, and how bad it had hurt, but I thought it happened to every kid and didn’t quite grasp why I was being punished… as I said, things were really messed up back then), this grand tower in the distance offered… an escape? It’s hard to explain. So I dreamed of living on top of the tower and eating whatever I wanted. I could play with whatever toys I wanted and not have them taken away by the other kids and broken. I could play in the sand with little toy soldiers and not have a bunch of vatos pour gasoline on my face because they were bored and the white-looking kid was an easy target.

Basically, I could be safe.

But a funny thing happened as I grew older. I went to another group home, then somewhere else, then went back to Albert Sitton Home. Only now it was the Orangewood Children’s Home, and I couldn’t see the tower from the new building. I could still see the glowing light, which I knew was now a warning light for planes and helicopters. The tower actually had a real name as well (the Crystal Cathedral), but it still held that magical allure for me. That tower always seems to be in land I base a story in (whether I mention it or not) and it always is a place of sanctuary, no matter what I call it or think of it.

I have other influences which color my writings as well (not everyone who is nice to the good guy is a good guy, for example), but the cathedral is by far the most influential.

 

 

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. As soon as you mentioned a crystal cathedral in the desert I thought, “This guy’s from Fullerton.” I used to live in OC myself.

    Reply

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About Jason Cordova

Born in Orange, California, author Jason Cordova has written books ranging from the fantastical realms of fantasy to the militaristic side of science fiction. His latest should be out soon. Really. You should probably buy it. Check Amazon. Demand it at your local store. Pay for his kitten kibble.

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Blog Update, Publishing, Writing