For about a year, until yesterday, I was running in this space a microfiction series I wrote around 2006 or so, the “Splendid Little Lexicon.” It started out a sort-of gazetteer of an imagined fantasy setting and drifted into something different, and I enjoyed writing it at the time. I remembered it fondly enough to want to preserve it after I deleted my old Livejournal (in the mistaken belief that possessing a Livejournal was what was holding me back, career-wise), though having reread each entry a couple of times now I concede that it’s 90% garbage. Still, you live and you learn, and you move on. So today I’m starting something new.
There’s a long list of books I’ve always meant to read, fiction mostly, that are accepted as the classic precursors of fantasy. Over time I’ve read a few of them, but mainly the list gets longer rather than shorter. I’ve decided to systematically attack the problem. First on the list: Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory. I’ll be using the 1955 Heritage Press edition, with modernized spelling and punctuation by A.W. Pollard, because it’s the edition on my bookshelf.
Every weekday I’ll post an opinionated summary, retelling, where-I-watch-style recap, or something along those lines, of a single chapter of Le Morte D’Arthur. The edition I’m using has a total of 243 chapters, and I’ll throw in a few milestones at the ends of books and such, so I expect this phase of the project to complete next May. Each entry will be a length determined by how much happened in the chapter and how interesting I can make it, in a range of 400 to 1000 words, barring special occasions.
Will I actually complete the project on this modestly ambitious timetable? I think so. I’m not updating the blog in real time; as I write this I’ve already scheduled the first two months’ worth of entries. I’ve also gone back and edited my posts based on later readings and so on, so if someone posts an especially insightful comment I’ll do my best to amend a response.
When I do complete this, I have another venerable fantasy text all picked out, and a third for after I finish that one. There’s no shortage of venerable fantasy classics out there.