Robert Jordan's Blog

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About this blog

Robert Jordan's official blog. Now occasionally contributed to by his family

Entries in this blog

Guest Wilson

Sometimes even when you've fought your best....

It is with great sadness that I tell you that the Dragon is gone. RJ left us today at 2:45 PM. He fought a valiant fight against this most horrid disease. In the end, he left peacefully and in no pain. In the years he had fought this, he taught me much about living and about facing death. He never waivered in his faith, nor questioned our God's timing. I could not possibly be more proud of anyone. I am eternally grateful for the time that I had with him on this earth and look forward to our reunion, though as I told him this afternoon, not yet. I love you bubba.

 

Our beloved Harriet was at his side through the entire fight and to the end. The last words from his mouth were to tell her that he loved her.

 

Thank each and everyone of you for your prayers and support through this ordeal. He knew you were there. Harriet reminded him today that she was very proud of the many lives he had touched through his work. We've all felt the love that you've been sending my brother/cousin. Please keep it coming as our Harriet could use the support.

 

Jason will be posting funeral arrangements.

 

My sincerest thanks.

 

Peace and Light be with each of you,

 

Wilson

Brother/Cousin

4th of 3

 

To Catalyst: Never, never loose faith. RJ did not. Harriet hasn't. I haven't. Going through what we have, our faith is only strengthened. Besides, if God didn't exist, we would have never had Jim. We did. God does. Remember my Brother/Cousin, my friend, think of him fondly and glorify God's name.

 

Editor's Note:

 

The entire staff of Dragonmount.com would like to extend its most deepest sympathies to Robert Jordan's family. He touched all of our lives in some way and we wish him the rest and peace he deserves. We will be posting information in the near future about where you can send condolences. Please check the News Section for these updates.

 

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Guest Robert Jordan

A VERY quick check-in

Just a very quick check-in to let you know I'm still alive and, with the inestimable help of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Mn, I am keeping things under control. Once again my Lambda Light chain numbers are in the normal range. Now I just have to get my foot healed up so I have a chance of getting out of this bloody wheel chair. Strange to think that my foot off all things, would be giving me he most trouble. Unfortunately, the Amyloidosis makes healing go very slowly. Oh, well. You put up with what you have to put up with while working your way around or over the "minor" problem.

 

I hear things now and then floating out in the air. For instance, I hear that word was floating about ComicsCon in San Diego that I am displeased with Red Eagle. Too true. Too very true. In a few more months that last contract they have with anyone on God's green earth that so much as mentions my name will come to an end and we can see what happens after that. You see, among other things they forgot an old dictum of LBJ back when he was just a Congressman from Texas, when he famously, or infamously, said "Don't spit in the soup, boys. We all have to eat." Worse, Red Eagle though they could tell me they spit in the soup, or pee in it, if they wanted to and there wasn't anything I could do to stop them. You can't apologize your way out of that with me, not that they tried. There isn't enough money in the world to buy your way out of it with me. Not that they tried that either. So they get no further help from me. Once they are completely out of the picture, we'll see what happens.

 

I seem to feeling rather viperish today. I also hear that a certain writer, on hearing that I had heart problems, announced that his cardiologist, on holding his (the writer's) heart in his hands said that he could have been holding the heart of a sixteen year-old or some such. My cardiologist told me much the same thing, but I made him give it back. Ahem. A question occurs. What was wrong that anyone had their filthy fingers palping his actual heart. All my heart examinations have been via catheritazation or electrocardiogram or echocardiogram or the like. Only if they saw cause would anyone be sticking fingers into my chest must less fingering my heart. Some discrepancy there, eh?

 

On, well. Down, Simba! Down, Big Boy. That's what Harriet says when I get like this. Lets get on to something a little more pleasant.

 

Many people have given gifts to Hematologic Malignancies Program --

amyloidosis research since the last time I thanked anyone. For donations since then. my thanks go out to Virginia A. Schomp and Chip

Bigness, Mrs. Janna Kamenetsky, Mr. Tony Witherspoon, Mr. Ryan Breen,

Mr. Nathan Chu, Mr. Todd Lyons, Ms. Kathleen D. Moore, Mr. Doug

Carrithers, Mrs. Deborrah M. Kozel, Ms. Melissa Craib and Friends at

TarValon.net, Mr. Eric Selby, Mrs. Carolyn Goodwin, Dr. Chris

O'Sullivan, Mr. Georgy Kantor, Mr. Andrew Childs, Mr. Doug Peters, Mr.

Scott Dimick, Ms. Pam Harley and the Hattie Mae Lesley Foundation. Thank you very much, one and all.

 

I'll get back to when I can. Until then, it's back to the grindstone for me.

RJ

Guest Jason

My Journey to Robert Jordan's Funeral

The following is an account of my experiences when I traveled to South Carolia for Robert Jordan's funeral. I was privileged to attend his services in Charleston, and to meet his family. My goal in attending the funeral was to represent as many of his fans as possible, and to document everything in order to share it with you. I hope what follows can help give you a sense of what it was like to be there. Even though you couldn’t attend, I promise you, whether you're reading this in the school computer lab, at the office, or in your kitchen, you were in my thoughts and heart, and I did what I could to make sure RJ and his family knew it. It wasn't just me visiting them... it was all of us.

 

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I received a phone call from Wilson on Sunday, September 16th. That's when all of this began. I could tell immediately from his tone that something had happened. "We lost him," Wilson said. "Jim passed away today."

 

To be honest, I don't exactly remember what my first reaction to that gut-wrenching statement was. I remember being worried for Harriet, and I remember being sad for Wilson because I could hear how upset he was on the phone, but in that infinitesimal moment when the words first sink in, I think I felt a wide array of emotions. There was sadness, of course, and shock, because we had just received good news in the previous blog entry, but there was also ... what? Disappointment? It would be a lie to say that I wasn't heartsick at the thought that RJ wouldn't be finishing the final volume in The Wheel of Time. Most of you I’m sure, felt it too. Just as he was honest with us until the end, so I will be honest here. I think we're all sad, and at least a tiny bit frustrated, by not having A Memory of Light completed in the way we wanted and hoped for.

 

Before you think poorly of me, hear me out. Obviously, we can't blame RJ for that. To do so is to show a lack of understanding of the way he worked and the way he fought this disease. Amyloidosis is a brutal disease and nobody could fight as hard as Jim Rigney. His blog is a testament to his fight and his dedication. He proved to us, right here, that he was Aiel to the core: "Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day." I don’t think there could be a stronger statement that defined RJ’s fight with the disease. When I say I was frustrated, it lasted only a fraction a second. It is, in part, our ability to overcome our negative emotions that makes us human to begin with. I took that frustration and fed it to the flame, and let the void surround me. There was work to be done, fans to be notified, and questions to be answered.

 

Thus began a three-day adventure that I'll never forget.

 

A quick note: For those of you who may not know, Robert Jordan was a pen name used by James ("Jim") Rigney. Jim is survived by his wife Harriet, his step-son Will, his brother Reynolds, and a full host of cousins, nephews, nieces, second-cousins-twice-removed, and more. A few people have asked me who Wilson is, and what a "Brother/Cousin, 4th of 3" means. Indeed, it sounds like a bizarre mix of the Borg, southern genealogy, and the even stranger Aiel relationships, but it's actually quite simple. Wilson is Jim's first cousin and they have always been very close, so close in fact that they considered one another brothers. So, that’s where Wilson's use of the term "Brother/Cousin" comes from. The "4th of 3" refers to the fact that Jim was one of 3 brothers (Ted, the third brother, passed away a few years ago) and Wilson was considered the "4th" brother in that family.

 

Jim lived in Charleston, South Carolina, in a beautiful old home that's been in Harriet's family since the 1930's. One of the kindest gestures I received this week was having Wilson say that I would be welcome there, and at Jim's funeral.

 

On Sunday evening, I posted the news of RJ's passing several hours after it occurred. Wilson sent me the brief write up that you've all read by now. Within minutes, the Dragonmount.com server began to see an unusually large increase in traffic. Within an hour, the site had slowed to a crawl. By the following morning, it was nearly impossible to get to RJ's blog. Initial reports run by the DM admins on the server at the time suggested an increase of traffic of about 250-300 times the normal amount. We estimated that it would take about 120 extra CPU's to fully handle all of the requests coming in at every moment. The DM server is brand-new, still cutting edge, but with the kind of numbers we were seeing, all we could do was try to keep the website stable.

 

The next morning I found myself on a plane flying from California to South Carolina. I grabbed a rental car and set off to drive to Robert Jordan's house. Let me pause here a moment and say that again: I was driving to Robert Jordan's house! If you're as much of a fan-boy as I am (and I know there are A LOT of you who are AT LEAST as big a fan as I am of his books), it would be a wild and crazy thing to think of going to the Creator's house and seeing where the books were written. Less than a week ago, such a thing would have seemed ridiculous to me. South Carolina is so far away. The closest I had ever come to visiting the Deep South before this trip was watching Gone with the Wind, and attending DragonCon in downtown Atlanta a few years ago, a decidedly different experience than visiting Charleston.

 

Jim once told me that he lived in the Two Rivers and suggested I check a map. I never had his mailing address though, and I couldn't exactly Google it, could I? But now, having been there, I can tell you that he wasn't kidding. He lives in the Two Rivers! Charleston proper is situated on a peninsula. The two bodies of water on either side of the peninsula are rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper. Jim and Harriet are very near the tip of the peninsula where these two rivers collide. They're deep in the Two Rivers. You might say they live as deep into their Two Rivers district as Emond's Field is in its own.

 

All of the homes in this area are old historical buildings, usually three, maybe four stories tall, with the well-known pillars and balconies that define the architecture of the southern United States. Jim and Harriet's home was completed in 1795. As I drove up their street, looking for the right house number, I saw a large white gate, and knew that I'd arrived. Carved into the gates are two large, sinuous creatures with five fingers on each claw. The symbol of the Dragon used in the books. I had found it.

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That Tuesday evening when I arrived was filled with so many amazing memories. I'll never forget it. First, I want you all to know that I found Harriet very quickly (or rather, she found me) and I let her know (on behalf of myself and all of you) that I was sincerely sorry for her loss. Her way of replying was to give me a warm smile, look me in the eyes, and say, "For you as well." Harriet is an amazing woman. You've heard RJ say it over and over again, but this week I saw it for myself. A southern lady to the core, Harriet is the essence of grace, with an easy manner that makes you feel like an old friend the moment you meet her, and an air of poise that belied her grief as she comforted others. Her eyes are warm and gentle, and sparkling with intelligence and wit. Oftentimes, I saw her with tears glistening in those lovely eyes, but she had just as many smiles to give to the rest of us. More, actually. She sang and clapped her heart out. She laughed with, and hugged, and kissed everyone who came to visit. I was welcomed into her home as part of the family this week, and cannot find the words to express how humbled and honored I am to have been included. By welcoming me, she and the rest of Jim's family welcomed us all as a unified collection of fans. Have no doubt that you were all there with us that evening.

 

A bit about RJ's home. God, where to begin? Every wall is covered in artwork, most of it paintings. There are some photographs, but by and large those were only present at desks or set in a frame under a lamp. The parlor has several floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with nothing except all the various editions of The Wheel of Time. It seemed as though every edition for each book was there and all of the translations. I'm six and a half feet tall and I would need a ladder to get to the upper shelves. If you have seen the book [/url]ir?t=dragonmount&l=ur2&o=1" width="1" height="1" border="0, then you've seen the large, antique dragon chair that RJ owned. It's pretty darn scary up close. It sits near the bookcases like a guardian ready to spring at the unwary critic. The effect, however, was a bit ruined by the fluffy pillows and blankets draped across it. :)

 

As wondrous as the house itself is, the most exciting place to visit is, of course, the place where it all happened, the carriage house. This is where RJ wrote all of his books. Inside is a library of over 16,000 books (yes, you read that right) and at least several hundred bladed weapons. Swords, axes, spears, and knives of all shapes and sizes line the walls and shelves of his office. Both the upstairs and downstairs areas are jam-packed with this stuff. It was like walking into a used bookstore that also happened to sell weapons, smoking pipes, and funky hats. I guess RJ liked to wear different hats when he wrote. Not just the ones you saw him wear on tour or in publicity photos, but wacky Viking helmets or jester hats. Who knew? Maybe it helped him get into all the different characters. Maria, one of his assistants, seemed to think he did it just to keep them all laughing, or guessing about his sanity.

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One other thing about the carriage house is that it was filled with gifts sent to him by fans. There were sketches, paintings, sculptures, plaques, and other memorabilia that he had received over the years from people who loved his work. It was pretty clear that he treasured those things. So, if you were ever a fan who sent in letters or gifts, be assured that he received them. I also received confirmation that he read every single letter written to him over the years. Clearly, he did not always have time to reply to them all, but he read every one and it meant a lot to him.

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Okay, one last carriage house story, then I'll move on. While I was there, the temptation to sit down at his desk, in his chair, at his computer, became overwhelming. I noted at the time how strange it was to be feeling as though this act were sacrilegious. Of course, I meant no disrespect. I just wanted to sit at the place where these books had been written. As I eased myself into the chair, I was overcome by a profound sense of excitement and sadness. I could feel his presence and his eyes on me in this place where he poured out so much of himself through his writing. The screen was dark as my fingers hovered over the keyboard, aching to touch the letters. I typed the word "RAND", just a silly attempt to mimic the strokes that keyboard had seen countless times before. The computer screen, which a moment before had been a dark sentinel guarding its Master’s desk, suddenly sprang to life from sleep mode and beeped loudly at me. I damn near jumped out of my skin! I vaulted from that chair as if the Dark One himself were in pursuit and fled with the distinct realization that there were a lot of sharp swords and scary masks watching my hasty retreat!

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That same Tuesday night while we were outside, Wilson pointed out to me that even though we were in the downtown area of a major city, if you closed your eyes and listened, all you could hear were crickets. Our beloved RJ lived in a slice of heaven, my friends. You probably have heard him speak of how much he loved that city, and I can now see why. Look at these photos and the lush jungle of greenery that surrounded him. I have little doubt that the trees and landscape of his home helped him to imagine the Green Man and the Nym, the Ogier Groves, and the eternal forests in dreams where wolves hunt and dreamwalkers dwell. It was here in his Stedding, beneath the trees and a canopy of stars that I stayed late into the night, sharing stories with Jim's friends and family and letting the peace of the warm southern evening pass through me.

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The following morning I arrived back at the house early. Even after the warm welcome the night before, I was amazed to find myself seated at the breakfast table with the members of his immediate family. (Somebody invited me to sit in Jim's chair, but I hastily declined because of my last adventure with one of his chairs. The walls of the dining room were covered in paintings of Jim and I felt them "giving me the eye.") The newspaper reports were rolling in and we all read them. One of them... the London Times, perhaps?... even used the term "Randland". Ha ha ha! I got a great chuckle from seeing that term used in a major newspaper.

 

Shortly after breakfast, I found myself helping out by doing dishes. Washing dishes is a soothing task for me, so I find that I do it quite often. (My wife thinks I'm crazy, but she never complains.) Also, I figured that, had any of you been there, you probably would have done the same thing. Jim has given so much to us that doing a simple chore like washing plates on the day of his funeral was an easy task to do. It also helped pass a little time before going to the church.

 

The funeral took place at St. Stephen's in Charleston. It's a small church with a simple and glorious beauty. Jim's ashes were on a pedestal in front of the altar. In addition to family and friends, I saw some fans who had come to pay their respects. Among them was Melissa Craib, the founder of TarValon.net. I was glad for her presence as she was someone I knew well, but more than that, I was glad she was there because she was another fan. Jim would have wanted her there. Melissa has already written up a report on the funeral. You can [url="http://www.tarvalonforums.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=60722" tarnet="wot">read it here.

 

Tom Doherty, the founder and president of Tor Books, gave the eulogy. He said Jim was one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century, and that he believed time would show the same was true for the 21st century. I couldn't agree more. Whether or not you like the books, regardless if you're frustrated by their size or pace, I think we could all agree that the sheer majesty and scope of the Wheel of Time series is unparalleled. Simply put, it’s the longest, and perhaps the most accessible, epic fantasy saga today.

 

By the way, I had the amazing fortune to be able to talk at length with Tom D. over the course of my visit. Tom is a man whose experience and insight into publishing is eclipsed only by his warmth and kindness, and his love for Jim and Harriet. If that sounds overly sugary, I assure you it isn’t. I would be hard pressed to meet another man as kind and attentive as Tom.

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Harriet's son, Will, Jim's brother, Reynolds, and Wilson all spoke at the funeral. Wilson read a truly moving essay that touched me deeply. I'll post a copy of it soon.

 

In the end, the most amazing part of the funeral was the singing. Now, I won’t claim that we had the most talented vocalists in attendance, but what the congregation might have lacked in talent, it more than made up for in spirit. And that is what we sang, spirituals. Songs with roots that run deeply through the southern experience and blossom at need to replenish the hearts of the grieving and remind them of the hope that lays in faith. At one point, the church was bursting with song. I remember looking up as we raised our voices to heaven, and I thought of all of you fans who were not present. I thought of how, with the people above in upper balconies and the white walls, this must be a little what it’s like to be in the White Tower for assemblies. The songs rose into the air, and together we sang Jim's spirit into heaven, and into one another, and around the world.

 

I should mention that Harriet wore one of Jim's hats to church. You know those wide-brimmed hats he wore on tour? (Not at all dissimilar to a hat worn by a certain ta'veren gambler.) Well, Harriet was sporting one of those very stylishly and it choked me up to see her wearing it.

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Following the funeral was a reception where everyone could mingle and chat. I had met many of the people there the night before, but this became an opportunity to meet even more folks, and go deeper into conversation with those I had already spoken with. Many fond memories of Jim were shared. Aside from being a famous author, the fact that so many people would attend his funeral and have nothing but good things to say about him speaks volumes about the kind of man he was. I had come to Charleston for Robert Jordan's funeral, seeking a chance to say good-bye to a well-beloved author. What I actually found after three days with his family and friends was so much more than I could ever have imagined. I was gifted with the opportunity to learn about Jim Rigney, the man, a far more fascinating person than Robert Jordan could ever be.

 

I spent the few hours between the funeral and the burial touring downtown Charleston and mingling at the reception. Harriet's cousin, Harriet (yes, another Harriet), and her husband George were gracious and gave me a tour of downtown Charleston. I was able to learn a bit about the city and places Jim used to frequent. Most notably, I saw the Yacht Club where he was a member. One thing that strikes me about a place like Charleston is how much HISTORY there is everywhere you go, and how people here know their ancestry back multiple generations. Harriet and George told me that they were instructed when they were young to "know the maiden name of all four of your great-grandmothers." I was only able to come up with one of them. I promised George that I'd research the other three and get back to him! Many of you are wiser than I am and already know this lesson, but for those who don't know it yet, I humbly offer it here. Take the time to learn about your roots! Know who your family was and how you ultimately came to be. Most of our personal histories are still passed through oral tradition. So, take the time at some point in your life to know those who came before you and pass the information on to those who follow. This is clearly a lesson Jim learned early in his life, or maybe had bred into him from the start. These histories will help complete you and may even spark creativity or insight that you didn't know was there before.

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The final stage of Jim's funeral was his burial. Once again I was humbled by the family’s invitation to attend this very private affair. We buried him out in the country, and I say "we" now because it was made clear to me numerous times by different people that I was an honorary member of the family, a distinction that I kindly extended to all of you in spirit. Harriet dropped rose petals into the grave with her son Will by her side. At one point, she was presented with a folded United States flag as is traditional at the burial of a U.S. veteran. The men in Jim’s family; Reynolds, Will, Tom Jones, and Wilson, all placed the dirt on top of him; an eternal blanket to keep him for the Ages.

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The church where he was buried was completed in 1785 and has had continuous services since then. Jim and Harriet were married there. His grave is next to that of several family members who preceded him and Harriet told me that one day she would rest next to him at the same site. Prayers were read, songs were sung, and tears were shed. This was, by far, the hardest moment for me personally. Despite the sadness of those present, you could see the deep bonds of family coming together to support each other. The Rigneys, like your family, like mine... are just that: a group of people who have discovered that together they are greater than the sum of their individual members. I saw Jim's family brought together by his life. Like any other family, I’m sure they have problems and disagreements, but the strength in their love for one another is evident when they gather together. These were the people who loved him, and I'm proud to have stood with them as your representative.

 

While the tears flowed, and the bagpiper from the Citadel played his mournful tune, I saw something radiant which made me smile. A little baby, only a few months old with beautiful eyes, was looking directly at me. I snapped a photo of her because here was a sign of new life and promise among the cold stones and the earth. Here was someone that Jim probably cherished in his last months and would have wanted the world for. The Wheel of Time turns...

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Towards the end, when most of the family was finished with their farewells, I took a moment to sit before Jim's grave. I tried to recall that first excitement I had when I read The Eye of the World thirteen years ago. I offered a bit of that feeling to him, so that the joy of having read his books might stay with him for a while as he rests. Once again I thought of all of you and told him how much we all loved him. I thanked him for the gift of his books, and I bade him farewell.

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I remembered the previous times I met Jim (when he was on book tour). I would always see him and think "Wow! That man right there is Perrin and Mat and Elayne and Loial, and Asmodean and Elaida and everyone else all made flesh." I would imagine that by shaking his hand I would be shaking all of their hands. As the burial approached, I had expected to feel a similar thing when he was buried. I expected to feel as though we were laying all of those characters into the ground, but that never happened. I realized that these characters and events are very much alive and present. Go into any bookstore and Mat is as alive and witty as ever. Rand will always be his charming and...uh...moody... self. The Forsaken will always be a threat. Jim gave these characters life, but we sustain them, and that is what I truly believe applies to the living as well. We live life in order to interact and be with others. By sharing a bit of yourself with another person you connect with them on a deeper level. There is energy within and between us all. Life, God, or the True Source, whatever you want to call it, is what I think we're here for, or so I felt at that particular moment at the foot of Robert Jordan's grave.

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Jim had wanted a certain song to be played at his funeral, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. For some reason it wasn't possible to do it, so after most people had left the burial ground, Mary, Harriet’s cousin whom Jim had treated and loved like a daughter, loaded the CD up in Jim's Porsche and cranked it up. The music evoked a sense of sadness laced with hope and the promise of salvation.

 

Oh, and, by the way, I got to ride in that Porsche on the way home. Jim bought it for himself when he became the New York Times #1 best-seller for the first time. (Book 8, I think). He told me a couple of years back via e-mail that "it handles like it’s on rails." Indeed, it did.

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The rest of Wednesday was spent back at the house. Once again, I walked through the carriage house, this time taking photos. (The swords and hats no longer seemed angry with me for sitting in his chair.) Wilson took me upstairs in the main house where I saw the original painting of the cover from The Dragon Reborn. This is the one for which Harriet asked the painter to remove Ishamael's face. I also was able to see Jim's numerous war medals, and those of his father.

 

The evening went on, and night fell. My flight for home left the next morning at 6 AM (yuck). Making my farewells was hard, as I had genuinely come to enjoy everyone's company so much. I felt like I was leaving the Winespring Inn in the Two Rivers. Several of the ladies wanted to make sure I had had enough to eat, and a few of the gentlemen wanted to be certain I had all my travel arrangements in place. On both of my back-to-back nights leaving Jim's house, I walked away with a plate full of food. I now know what the term "southern hospitality" means.

 

I could not possibly write about all of the conversations I had during my time in Charleston. There were so many of them, and much of what was said was somewhat private in nature. Mostly, conversations were about everyday things, but the WoT geek in me was curious, and so I poked around. I can tell you this much: nothing about the plot of the final novel was revealed to me. I'm no closer to the identity of Asmodean's killer than you are. (Although, come on people, it's been 15 years. You should know by now. Go read the WoT FAQ. When I suggested to Maria who I thought it was she gave me a "Don't-even-go-there" look.) What I do know about A Memory of Light is that we need to give everyone time to figure out what's going to happen with it next. Wilson has already revealed previously on RJ's blog that Jim left some pretty detailed notes on what would happen. He, Harriet, and presumably Maria and the other assistants, all know the endings and secrets. There are both written notes and audio recordings of Jim saying what happened. (Wouldn’t it be cool to have that audio published with the final novel someday? Tor, are you listening?) How or when we'll see A Memory of Light in published form needs to be worked out. Jim's death is too recent and the wounds it left too raw to his family to say when the last volume will be completed. Time will provide us with the book we want, and the conclusion the series deserves. We just have to be patient.

 

Speaking of conclusions, so ends my adventure. Although, as Jim has told us eleven times before, there are no beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel. I hope this gave you even a little taste of what it was like. I'll never forget those days at Jim and Harriet’s house. I am saddened by our loss, and at the same time, overjoyed by the opportunity I was given. I wish each of you could have seen the bookshelves, felt the grip of the swords, and heard the crickets. And the music. Wow... the music especially will stay with me forever. The Tinkers and Ogier need look no further for their songs than the ones we sang to Jim Rigney when we gave him to the earth.

 

I'll end with this beautiful quote that was printed on the back of Jim's prayer card at the funeral. I have a bunch of them and I'll figure out a way to give them away to some of you. The other fans at the funeral may have already posted them. The quote reads as follows. I have it burned into my memory.

 

"He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone."

 

Thank you Jim, for touching my life, and the lives of all those reading this and beyond. We will miss you so.

 

In loving memory, and on behalf of all those reading this, I remain,

Your Friend,

 

 

Jason

 

Jason@dragonmount.com

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View all photos from Robert Jordan's funeral... (More to come possibly)

 

Guest Wilson

The Stone

Friday was a beautiful day in the Two Rivers. There was a gentle breeze blowing inland and the sky was crystal. Perfect. Unlike the services a year ago, the laying of the ledger stone on Jim's grave was a quiet family affair. So, with apologies, I won't share the details. Jim's resting place is identified with a marker that will last for a few hundred years. I found myself thinking that his work will outlive even the marble on his grave. The stone is simple in form. It is etched with a few words which perfectly describe the gentle giant of a man that he was.....

 

James Oliver Rigney, Jr.

 

Born October 17, 1948

Died September 16, 2007

 

Father Story Teller

Soldier Singer

Guest Wilson

Greg is back. Also... JordanCon

All,

 

Many of you became very familiar with an almost-member of our family, The Armorer, USMC Colonel Greg Kitchens. Though a reserve officer, Greg felt the calling to return to active service and did that in 2008. He was subsequently deployed in support of our missions in the Middle East. I asked specifics and he gave me the old "I can tell you but..." line. When a Marine weapons instructor says that, you stop asking. I thought you all (yes I am from Charleston and I didn't say y'all), would like to hear that Greg is safely back on U.S. soil. I've included two of my favorite photos that he sent me during his time in the Sand Box. In one, Colonel Kitchens stands with a long-time friend and his hand-to-hand instructor, Sergeant Smith. The other picture shows our Armorer moving through the desert on a most unorthodox military conveyance. I hope that you will join me in welcoming Greg home and giving him a big thank you for his service. Well done Colonel! Ooh-rah!

Col-Kitchens-and-Sgt-Smith-300x225.jpgWadi-Rum-Jordan-300x225.jpg

Click to enlarge either photo.

 

P.S. Shameless Plug for JordanCon 2010

 

Last year Jennifer Liang organized and ran the first annual JordanCon. For those WOT fans who attended it turned out to be much more than a convention, it was in fact a family reunion. You've seen the photos and read the reports, so you know the impact it had on those who attended. The 2nd Con is schedule for 23-35 April 2010 near Atlanta. I'll be there with my forever-wife Janet and our daughter Marisa (she wears blue, but I swear she's a green). I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. You can find out information about JordanCon 2010 here http://www.jordancon.com

 

Onward!

 

Wilson

Brother/Cousin

4th of 3

wilson_med-224x300.jpg

Wilson, holding a photo of Robert Jordan. His daughter Marisa can be seen behind him.

Guest Wilson

Rumors and rumors of rumors

During Dragon Conn in Atlanta last week rumors flew about that my brother/cousin was gravely ill, wasn't eating and had in fact had "Last Rites" administered. I just got off the telephone with him and he's surrounded by laughing friends and relatives and is about to enjoy a shrimp-based bowl of gumbo. He got a chuckle out of news of his impending departure.

 

Go back and reread RJ's blog entries and you'll know exactly what is going on. Armed with those medical facts, if any of you have shared time with very ill relatives you'll know what person looked like and felt like during the ordeal. RJ looks and feels just like that. So, we're not taking any family photos at the moment.

 

Fact: He is ill, very ill. He has shared that with you in medical jargon. He has told you the prognosis of his physicians and told you that he plans to beat their predictions. I pray that he will. But should it not be in the cards, he'll manage that phase of his life as he has every step he has taken thus far. So, should you hear another "rumor" it's just that. Until you hear it from RJ, Harriet or from me, it's just a rumor.

 

Fact: He's told you that his appetite comes and goes. It does. He's taking a handful of medications everyday to help him in the fight. Unfortunately some of them have adverse affects on the appetite. Pretty much like a kid in that regard right now. He eats when he feels up to it, and says "No Thanks!" when he doesn't. When I visited a couple of weeks back he had a hankering for Cream of Mushroom soup served with rice and a dash of tabasco. RJ and Harriet were busy in the parlor, so I whipped up the soup. He told me it was good, but not as good as when Harriet prepares it. Duh!?!?

 

Fact: The deacon from his church visits their home for weekly worship services and to bring communion. RJ doesn't feel up to sitting on two hundred year old wooden pews for an hour. Painful even for someone in the peak of health, which you know RJ is not. These visits are to share communion, which is a weekly (at least) part of RJ and Harriet's lives. Same goes for Janet and me. When RJ is physically stronger, he'll be back on the hard pews. I hope that whatever your faith that you are able to "Commune" with God often.

 

Bottom line guys, he's been completely forthcoming with you from the very beginning of this ordeal. He intends to continue that dialog. When he and I spoke a few minutes ago, I asked if he wanted to end this rumor or for me to do it? I then reminded him that the last time he wrote you he was feeling as he put it "a bit viperish" and that his posting had kicked over a huge ant hill. He allowed that perhaps I should write you guys this time. Calmer heads and all.

 

Keep the prayer lines open please. He's a stubborn old cuss but welcomes, appreciates, yes even needs your collective petitions to our God. I'll be seeing RJ and Harriet in a week and will give them a hug and an "I Love You" from each and every one of you.

 

Thanks for caring.

 

Peace be with each of you,

 

Wilson

Brother/Cousin

4th of 3

 

Epilog: Yes he is continuing to work through all of this medical calamity. MOL is going into the word processor and onto audio tapes almost daily. Not every day mind you, because the medical fight takes first priority. But, he told you he'd finish and he will. Fact is that it has been finished in his head for years. During a recent family sit around, he became the Gleeman and told the bones of it ALL to Harriet and me. You read that right, I did say ALL. Don't ask, ain't telling. Two and a half hours of story telling by the Creator himself went by in the twinkling of an eye. Truly magical. All I can say is WOW! Best stuff he's ever done. MOL is going to knock your socks off! That's a promise.

Guest Harriet

From Harriet

Dear Everyone,

 

He has gone where pain and suffering are no more.

 

Whenever he was able to be at the computer, he checked the blog first thing. Your e-mails REALLY MATTERED to him. He loved them ... and I think in some sense he loved you all.

 

I never thanked you for all my birthday messages, but I do now. We had a nice party...about a dozen people, ranging in age from 4 months to 82 years, sitting around the dining room table which had been covered with lots of newspaper, picking our own lovely boiled local shrimp, eating corn on the cob and homemade biscuits , and later eating watermelon; a good deal of white wine went down our gullets, too. I should add, no cooking was done by me. My dearest first cousin, also named Harriet (we're both named for her mother), did it all, just about.

 

It was a happy time. Jim made it so.

 

He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone.

 

These are words Jim said to me several books ago, in the weary but always thrilling hours of putting the manuscript to bed, ready to carry to New York in the morning -- I remember grabbing a piece of discarded script and scrawling those words up the margin, because they were so beautiful. He was talking about Rand. I of course am not.

 

I know he touched all of you. Thanks for being there.

 

Here is his final interview, given to the local newspaper. Notice the date:

 

Robert Jordan aims to get back on feet

By Bill Thompson

 

Thursday,September 13, 2007

 

Jim Rigney intends to "keep marching to the horizon." Stage One is getting back on his feet.

 

Known to millions of readers as Robert Jordan, the best-selling author of "The Wheel of Time" fantasy series continues to cross swords with the rare blood disease amyloidosis, a progressive disorder he was first diagnosed with in December 2005 at the Medical University of South Carolina.

 

Subsequently, the author has been undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

 

Rigney reports that with the help of the Mayo Clinic, he is keeping things under control.

 

"My numbers are still good, in the normal range. We will be going back up to the Mayo in about a month and we'll see what the status is. Now I just have to get my foot healed up so I have a chance of getting out of this wheelchair. Strange to think that my foot, of all things, would be giving me the most trouble. It's getting better, but unfortunately the amyloidosis makes healing go very slowly.

 

"When I get the foot better then I can start on the process of walking again. I hope to do this in another two or three months."

 

While there has been no improvement in heart function and no change in his overall prognosis as of June, Rigney says improvement remains possible. And he's determined.

 

"I've got promises to keep."

 

And he did march, guys. He marched toward that horizon until he crossed it, where we cannot follow yet.

 

The word now, the only possible word, is Onward.

 

Go for it. With love.

 

Consider yourselves hugged.

Harriet

 

Guest Jason

The following letter is from Greg Kitchens, the "Armorer" who is facilitating the auction of Robert Jordan's weapon collection on ebay.

 

Robert Jordan's personal collection of blades are now available on ebay.

 

I have been planning these auctions for a couple of months now and have some thoughts to share.

 

  • First of all, these are the first of over 100 knives, swords, and various other weaponry owned by RJ. There are plenty more to come so it would be foolish for fans to bid these first blades at astronomical prices. Please, do not go crazy. Also, keep in mind that when Jim Rigney liked something he often bought at least two. Some of his favorites, such as the Nepalese Kukuri, the scimitar, or the traditional Japanese Katana, were highly represented in his collection with multiple variations and examples. If you see something on auction you like, there may be more opportunities to buy something similar. In the listings it will always say that "This is from the personal collection of the late author Robert Jordan whose bestselling Wheel of Time series of books is hugely popular throughout the world". If one goes to ebay and searches "COLLECTION LATE AUTHOR ROBERT JORDAN" and checks the block for "search titles AND descriptions" you will be directed to the blade collection while filtering out the plethora of books and other items out there. Once you find one of the actual listings you may then view the seller's other auctions. One may also subscribe to ebay to get emails when items are newly posted or bid upon. I will make comments on this site and keep you updated.
  • Jim Rigney was a friend of mine. For some of us sentimental types it is a great honor to own a personal item that meant something to a friend who passed. When the family so graciously made the offer, I selected a Cold Steel Magnum Tanto and an Applegate-Fairbairn fighter from Jim's collection to go with me to Iraq next year (I likely will need neither for any more than cutting open an MRE, but a good knife does inspire confidence). Later, Wilson later gave me a modernly made katana cane sword that I found in Jim's bucket of staffs. These are now 3 very special blades to me because they were Jim's. The family decided to allow me to auction off these remaining items so that fans and collectors, the VERY people who will appreciate and take care of them, will have a chance to own them. That is really what this blade auction is all about.
  • Some of the blades are antiques or highly desirable custom items. I have done thorough research on these blades and will not sell anything unless I am confident that it is what we say it is. There is a "horsehead" saber from the 1830s, a couple of Randall knives, some nice antique Chinese swords, and several others. These items will have value to collectors. If one is a fan AND interested in the particular genre of blade, all the better. ALL items will start at a price that is lower, in some cases MUCH lower, that the flat retail value of the item.
  • RJ owned over a dozen Japanese swords, although most were either modern reproductions or Chinese "fakes". The Chinese swords were made to appear to be old, which they are not. There were two authentic Japanese swords (besides a few military and police swords) and they will both stay in the family. There are also a few newly made, high quality katanas and wakizashis by CAS Iberia/Paul Chen Hanwei. These are fully functional warrior quality blades and are worth significantly more than the Chinese reproductions. Japanese swords, Nihon-to, are classic and legendary weapons and certainly interested RJ. Fans will undoubtedly recognize the influence these blades had on the RJ's design of the Heron marked swords. I have spent a great deal of time studying and researching these historic weapons to make sure they are represented accurately.
  • Many have asked about charities. These blades were left to some close relatives of RJ and each will get a percentage of the net profit and are, thus, free to do with it what they see fit. I do know that at least one recipient plans to donate a portion of the money to the Mayo Clinic and another has mentioned looking after The Citadel (RJ's school, and mine), but the particulars are not yet decided. Please do not rationalize your decision to bid by telling yourself that "it's for a good cause". Again, our primary objective is to ensure that RJ's collection finds its way into the hands of those who appreciate them. We hope that nobody buys something that they cannot realistically afford. We have also put some items off to the side to be charity auctioned or otherwise given away at the upcoming JordanCon. [Editor Note: Dragonmount.com will be raffling off at least one of these items. More info will be posted in our News section when it gets closer to happening.]
  • We have no way of enforcing it but would appreciate it if no one would buy more than two or three blades in total. We hope that several fans get the opportunity to own one of RJ's personal collectibles.
  • I just hate to limit the sales to US only but made the decision to do just that. My apologies to our overseas friends but shipping blades internationally can get legally complicated and we just do not have an international lawyer on retainer. A knife or sword that one country may view as a harmless tool yet another country sees as a national threat! Customs and unvested carriers add another dimension of risk in ensuring that these items safely get to the buyers. I am new to ebay. If I did this for a living I'd likely be experienced enough to know the ropes for shipping and customs for any given country. There just is not adequate time to properly work it all out. I decided that I do not want to learn the hard lessons the hard way and, in the process, allow something to happen to one of RJ's blades. If you are overseas and want to bid, perhaps you have a friend in the US to whom we can ship? You would then have the time to thoroughly work out the details in getting it into your particular country. Of course, all buyers are responsible for knowing and complying with their local laws. Again, our international friends have my personal apologies as it was with a heavy heart that I made this difficult decision.
  • The letter of authenticity will be sent with each item and I will retain a copy. The letter will include a description of the blade and name the recipient. No copy of these letters will be sent electronically. We ask all buyers to disallow copies or scannings as we do not want these to ever be faked should they fall into the hands of the unscrupulous. I am personally invested in making sure you are satisfied with this sale. Please contact me with any questions or concerns. All sales are guaranteed.

 

Sincerely,

Col G.H. Kitchens

The Armorer

 

View all available items for bidding

Guest Harriet

A word from Harriet & Wilson

On October 27, Book 12 of The Wheel of Time, THE GATHERING STORM, goes on sale nationally. Completed by Brandon Sanderson from notes and partials left by Robert Jordan, it is very good. I was its editor, as I was editor on ALL the Wheel books, and Maria Simons, Jordan's right hand for over 12 years, and Alan Romanczuk, Jordan's left hand (just because you can't have two right hands unless you are ... Shiva, is it?) have worked very closely with Brandon as well. We three -- Harriet, Maria, and Alan -- have really worked as Team Jordan on this book, and will do so on the following two, which will complete the Wheel. Book 13 will be titled TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, and Book 14 will be A MEMORY OF LIGHT.

 

Even Jordan couldn't have written everything he left in one volume, although he thought he could. But you recall that he thought he could write the entire Wheel in six volumes.

 

Try THE GATHERING STORM. I think you'll like it a lot. I do.

 

Best,

Harriet McDougal


Update: Some additional comments from Wilson:

 

I was a Jordan fan before he was Jordan. The Warrior God was my childhood idol, the big brother I didn't have. Love is too weak a word to describe my feelings for Jim. I would do anything for him and would defend him with my life. That includes defending his work. Saying that, I could not be more pleased with the work done by Team Jordan: Harriet, Brandon, Maria and Alan. The Gathering Storm masterfully continues Jim's story in a manner that would be pleasing to the creator himself. There are countless "oh my!" moments. The pace is staggering. I fear that there will be many WOT fans who will loose sleep on the 27th because they just won't be able to find a stopping point.

 

I said before on this blog, that I loved Jim for bringing Harriet into my life. A grander lady there is not. Still what she has done in orchestrating and beautifully completing Jim's work has raised her stock even more. Love you sis. The Warrior Angel is surely smiling.

 

Congratulations to Team Jordan. Can't wait till next year.

 

Wilson

Brother/Cousin

4th of 3

Guest Robert Jordan

DUMB EVIL?

I see a number of posts about that, and I find them a little surprising. Anybody out there ever read about the internal workings of the Third Reich or the reasons why the Nazis made some of their major, and often disastrous decisions? It was a zoo. A madhouse! Just for an example, even in the last days, they were sidelining trains carrying desperately needed supplies to the front in order to use the engines to transport more people to the death camps! And yet they came within a whisker or two of winning. There are hundreds of counterfactuals -- the historian's name for alternate histories -- showing how the Nazis could have won outright as late as Normandy, at least to the extent of hanging onto Germany and quite possibly France, or pulled out a tie as late as the Battle of the Bulge. The internal workings of the Soviet Union under Lenin, Stalin (even more so) and most of their successors often made the Nazis look almost sensible, yet Stalin did manage to defeat the Nazis, though largely with the inadvertent help of the Nazis themselves. And his successors, frequently making decisions in nearly buffoon-like fashion, came very close to pulling out a victory over the Western democracies. Henry Kissinger actually saw his position as negotiating the best second-place position he could for the United States vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and the inevitable triumph of communism. True fact. You can look it up. Both Kissinger's feelings and the view of many intelligent people on this side of the Iron Curtain that we were fighting a losing battle are a matter of record. I lived through a lot of that, took part in some of the skirmishing, and I'll tell you, it was a damned close run thing.

 

The Forsaken are a group of power hungry people who don't like one another and vie with one another for power as much as they vie with the forces of the Light. Much like the internal politicking in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But look at the situation in the world as it actually stands, from the White Tower divided to crop failures caused by a too-long winter and a too-long summer and people fleeing their farms because the Dragon Reborn has broken all bonds, meaning still less food, and that spoiling at a fearsome rate, from chaos in Arad Doman to a large part of the Borderland armies out of position, from the arrival of the Seanchan focusing too many eyes on them instead of the Shadow to the strongest single nation, Andor, riven by civil war in all but name and Tear split by open warfare, from.... Well, take your pick. There are lots more to chose from. Take a step back and look at what the forces of the Shadow have wrought. The world and the forces of the Light are in bad shape. At this point, boys and girls, the Shadow is winning. There are glimmers of hope, but only glimmers, and they MUST pay off for the Light to win. All the Shadow needs for victory is for matters to keep on as they have been going thus far and one or two of those glimmers to fade or be extinguished. The forces of the Light are on the ropes, and they don't even know everything the Dark One has up his sleeve.

 

Think of it this way. The bell is about to ring for the fifteenth round, and the Light is so far behind on points the only way to win is a knockout. Our boy is game, but he's wobbly on his legs and bleeding from cuts over his eyes. Now he has three minutes to pull out his best stuff and deliver the punch of his life. The Dark One has taken a few shots, but nothing that has really damaged him. He's still dancing on his toes and talking trash. His head shots can fracture a skull, and his body punches can break ribs. And now he's ready to unveil his surprises. You didn't think all it would take is for Rand to show up at the Last Battle, did you? According to the Prophecies, the Light has no chance without him, but his presence doesn't ensure victory, just that the Light has a chance. Gotta stiffen your legs and blink the blood out of your eyes. Gotta suck it up and find that punch. Three minutes to go, and you gotta find that knockout. That's your only chance.

 

I seem to be making a lot of posts to something I said I would post to infrequently. I think I need to let my keyboard cool off.

 

Take care, guys.

 

RJ

Guest Harriet

A note from Harriet

Dear everyone,

 

Brandon Sanderson came to see me for a couple of days this week, and he is as terrific as he sounds in the interview. I am really glad that things have worked out so that he can, and will, complete A MEMORY OF LIGHT. He will do a job that Jim would approve, I believe. And I'll be working with him throughout the writing. And so will Alan Romanczuk and Maria Simons, who have worked Jim through a number of books, and who are both now completely available for Brandon's support.

 

It is a great relief to have Brandon on board. This (choosing the writer to finish the series and getting the work launched) was the single thing I most wanted to do for my dear Jim. All the rest of the avalanche of stuff had to take a back seat -- and there has been a lot that needs to be dealt with. So now I can deal with it -- figuring out one colossal bad investment, dealing with the apparent collapse of the British literary agency (now apparently reconstituting itself), figuring out how to meet the payroll, all this mundane stuff. All will be OKAY, I hasten to tell you. It's just that it all needs to be dealt with, and that means TIME.

 

There is an e.e. cummings poem, I carry your heart, that you can google. [The poem is included below.] I did, and burst into tears. It tore my heart open and soothed it, too -- because I do carry Jim's heart in my heart and I always will, until we meet again, which I hope and pray we will. When I said ONWARD I did not mean away from Jim. Not at all. I meant that we must always keep going, making, giving, loving, living, as best we can, through blizzard and desert. It is what we are called on to do. A friend wrote me at Jim's death, "the transition from love in the flesh to love remembered is endless and inconsolable" and oddly this was very comforting, because I believe it is true. It isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is to keep going, ONWARD, with his love, in his love. He loved you guys, too, you know, even if you never met him. How else could he have written these wonderful books?

 

So, hold him in your hearts and LIVE -- it's what he wanted us all to do.

 

Greetings of the season to you all. And love. Harriet

 

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

 

e e cummings

Guest Jason

Pictures of some of the collection

Greg, "The Armorer", Kitchens passed along some more photos of Robert Jordan's weapon collection. He writes:

Some have suggested a book of Jim’s collection. While this is a fun idea, I am afraid it is too late. The collection has already been taken down from the walls and distributed among the heirs, other than what we are auctioning now.

 

Please consider posting some of these pictures on the site if you feel it appropriate and in you get the time. They are pictures I took of the collection at various times since Jim’s passing. Many of the items seen will be up for auction and others, of course, will not.

Guest Jason

A message from Wilson

Hi everyone,

 

Jason here again. RJ asked me to post this message from his cousin Wilson. To give you some context, read over the previous few blog entries.

 

Enjoy. And thanks, Wilson!

 

 

To those of you that have said nice things about my small show of support for my brother-cousin, thank you. He's what this is about however. To Nynaeve, you were absolutely spot on. He would have done the same to support me were the tables reversed.

 

I have read all your comments and well wishings and I sense that in your own ways, you love him as much as I do. That you have included sweet Harriet in your thoughts is most wonderful. Thank you for that. RJ is doing what few get to, pursue his passion. Parrot Heads will recognize the origin; most of us live as oysters. RJ on the other hand is a Pearl. Still, imagine the courage it takes to put your work out there for the entire world to critique. That you have embraced his imaginary world and him is humbling, but gratifying validation. However, I know the man, he would be doing the same, as a starving writer to a scant few as long as the publisher allowed. True, your devoted following has made it easier for him to pursue his craft, but pursue it he would regardless. And for making his road in life a bit easier to navigate, I again thank you.

 

We had a really great day together this past Saturday. Our dearest Harriet insisted that the boys needed to visit the local Harley shop to procure do rags for our chrome domes. RJ entered the showroom of gleaming road-ready American icons with a thunderous, "Holy Mamma! We're in Church!" Stopped people dead where they stood he did. Janet, my love and shade of my heart, found a camouflage do rag which the Vietnam Vet thought fit him most nicely. Then she happened upon a black rag with a luminescent blue pattern on it. She showed it to me and I announced that they were dragons. RJ's head popped from around the opposite side of the display and he queried quite like we were still adolescents, "Dragons?" Two left the shop and were soon upon our heads. Oh we did kick tires and discuss at length the merits of this or that bike. I longed for the Classic mid life comfort bike, bedecked of faring, chrome, CD player, et al. RJ offered that I might as well be riding in a car. In the end I think we were both eyeing the Soft Tail. But our favorite was the Fat Boy in a very stealthy new matte paint, Black Denim.

 

All the rattling about the Do Rags is for a reason. You, his loyal fans and supporters, know that this world that you so love has sprung from that amazing mind of his. Rand, for all his heroics is but a figment of my dear brother's imagination. RJ on the other hand, is now and has always been the Dragon. Seeing him wearing his dragon bedecked do rag only refocused me to that fact. When he called me with the news of the disease, he announced with calm resolve that it was there and that it was fatal. He also vowed to beat it. Heroes do that you know. He has shared the amyloid ordeal most openly with you all. Read between the lines of his postings and you will see that this was no small struggle. While he is setting all manner of records for an amyloid patient, we have yet to learn if the amyloids are truly gone for good. Time will tell. Pray, as I do, that they are. Dr. Hayman is truly of the yellow ajah. But, the medical treatments required to vanquish this unseen enemy damned near kills the patient. Thusly, RJ is back from near-death and reborn to us. Fantasy is just that. Reality is much more inspiring. I am here to proclaim loudly to all of you that my brother-cousin, my confidant, my friend, is indeed the Dragon Reborn. Long live the Dragon!

 

Guest Robert Jordan

THE GASP MOMENT

I just finished with a post to this blog, but I thought I'd make this separate, especially since I told Jason to go ahead and let you post comments to the blog. Not that I'll be answering your comments necessarily, but we may enter into a dialogue upon occasion.

 

No, I'm not going to reveal what the "gasp" moment is. I certainly won't be putting any spoilers here. But I have read the reviews, both spoiler and non-spoiler. For those who have read the book and believe you have identified the "gasp" moment, congratulations. For those who have read the book and still don't know what the "gasp" moment is, my sympathies. I mean that in all truth. You failed to see something that really should have made you gasp. I think I am fairly hardened, but occasionally something happens that makes me mutter, "Where are you, God? Are you sleeping? Are you blind?" This is fiction, but even so, I had to pause a couple of times in writing about it. Of course, I get deeply immersed in my work so that it becomes real to me while I am writing, but I hope to pull the reader into that level of realness, too. Either I failed completely in this instance, or some of you have become way too hardened. Too much on the evening news, I suppose. It's just today's hurricane, today's tsunami, today's Armageddon. I wonder what's coming up at eleven?

 

On a lighter note, I understand that some of you are unhappy with the pronunciation of Taim's name. Sorry, guys, but it is tah-EEM, not tame. Never tame. Not that one. In the same vein, Shaido is shah-EE-doh, not SHY-doh.

 

For a few others that I understand some folks have trouble with:

Siuan -- swan.

Demandred -- deh-MAN-drehd.

Seanchan -- SHAWN-chan.

Seandar -- SHAWN-dahr.

Moiraine -- mwah-RAIN.

Mandragoran -- man-drah-GORE-ahn.

 

Maybe I'll give you a few others another time.

 

Take care, guys. And remember, if you can look at absolutely anything without at least a desire to weep, then you've lost part of your humanity.

 

RJ

Guest Jason

More info and pictures from RJ's funeral

Since posting the report on Robert Jordan's funeral, I've come across some more items I'd like to share with you. (With permission from RJ's family of course).

 

First off, Tom Doherty and Wilson were kind enough to share the words they spoke at RJ's funeral with us. Tom is the president of Tor Books (who published the Wheel of Time), and has been a friend of RJ's for 30 years or more. Here's what he said at the eulogy:

 

 

Tom Doherty's Eulogy for James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (Robert Jordan)

 

“He came like the wind. Like the wind touched everything and like the wind was gone.â€

 

Jim Rigney, Robert Jordan, friend, doer, dreamer, maker of dreams, one of the great storytellers of the 20th and I believe time will prove 21st century as well. His Wheel of Time is a towering epic of power and scope. After praising it extensively, the
New York Times
said of it:

 

“– the evil laced into forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the scenes of unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable events – bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades -â€

 

Truly Jim wrote for us all.

 

And Harriet, the love of his life, what a team, Harriet is the finest editor I’ve ever worked with. Working together they produced wonderful things. His first two books,
Fallon Blood
and
Fallon Pride
were published by her company, Popham Press as a joint venture with Ace where I was publisher and she had been Editorial Director. And then at Tor, another Fallon, Conan and the Wheel of Time. The Wheel, which has touched the lives of so many millions and down the generations will touch so many millions more.

 

Jim was a man of courage and heart and vision. He was my friend of 30 years. He’s gone ahead of us now. Beyond that last horizon to a place we cannot yet see. But I think he can see us and he’s glad we’re together and he’s already thinking of stories he’s going to tell Harriet and then the rest of us when we get there.

 

We miss you Jim. Thanks for all you’ve left behind.

 

 

Thank you, Tom, for sharing that with all of us.

 

Wilson, RJ's "cousin/brother" also spoke at the funeral. He read an excerpt from "Irish Cream"

 

From Irish Cream,

by Father Andrew Greeley

 

"The issue," said the little bishop in him homily, "is whether the tombstone or the flowers are more ultimate. It is perhaps odd that we Americans celebrate our day of the dead just when life flourishes and summer begins. Somehow we have our symbols confused. My parents called this festival Decoration Day because it is the day when we used to put flowers around the tombs. Now we put them everywhere and perhaps forget about the meaning of the festival and tombs. We honor those who died in the country's wars-millions of young men whose lives were cut short before they had a chance to flourish. All war is foolish. Some may, however foolish, also be necessary. That is not for us to decide today. We must rather consider those long rows of white crosses-and Stars of David-and think of how much those young men might have contributed to the life of our country if they had been given a chance. We must also think of the parents, the wives, the sweethearts of those who are buried in the military cemeteries and how much their lives were blighted by early and sudden death.

 

"It might be said that they died for their country. It is more likely that they died because they were drafted and had no choice. They may also have died because political leaders or military leaders made tragic mistakes. We must not use this day of the dead to glorify war but rather to sorrow for those who died and for those who lost the.

 

"We must also ask God, with all due respect, why he permitted all these young lives to be cut short with such tragic results. We don't expect an answer but we must ask the question. Indeed he expects us to ask the question and not to lose sight of the tragedy.

 

"Yet we put flowers on the tombs and we surround our homes with flowers. Hence the question: Which is more ultimate, the flower or the tomb? Death, which the white cross represents, or life, which the flower represents? Do we just make the tomb pretty or do we defy it?

 

"I put it to you that we defy the tomb. We do not pretend that there is no tragedy in all these deaths. We do not turn away from the stupidity, the futility, the ugliness of death, of any and every death. Because of our faith we seek to transcend it. Love is as strong as death, the Song of Songs tells us. It is a kind of draw between the two. If, however, love cannot prevent death, so death cannot prevent love and thus in the end love wins. Consider the lilacs here on the lawn: they ought to have been wiped out long ago by the wind and the snow. Yet they reappear every year at this time to remind us that there is beauty in the cosmos. If there is beauty then there is Beauty with a capital B. And if there is Beauty, death is not quite the end. There is yet more to be said. Beyond that today we cannot go and we need not go. All the beauty of this wonderful day once again defies death and we join in that defiance. Life is too important ever to be anything but life."

 

In addition to the excerpt above, Wilson also sent in some more pictures from RJ's house.

 

And finally, this last photo of RJ is by an artist named Lese Corrigan. Here's what Wilson had to say about it.

The portrait of Jim is my personal favorite. It was very recently that I connected the artist, Lese Corrigan, who I had known for some time to the painting. Lese was at the house every morning and every evening for the last 6 months helping Harriet through this. She was with us that Saturday evening when the last book came erupting from Jim's mouth. She had been a steno in earlier days and took the most meticulous notes that night. Much of what Jim wanted in the last book will be there because she was able to get it down as he said it. We all owe her a lot."

 

[url="http://picasaweb.google.com/jwdenzel/RobertJordanSFuneral/photo#5117573201834755346">Portrait.jpg

Lese Corrigan, Corrigan Gallery, 62 Queen Street, Charleston, SC.

http://www.corrigangallery.com

 

[ [ Harriet's Letters to fans: 1, 2 ] [ http://picasaweb.google.com/jwdenzel/RobertJordanSFuneral"' target="wot]View all photos from the funeral ]

Guest Robert Jordan

IT'S BEEN A WHILE

Sorry about the long stretch without a post, guys, but things were a little hectic here for a time. That has a tendency to happen, especially around the Holidays.

 

I've noticed here and there that some of you have caught errors -- sometimes mine, sometimes printers' errors -- and commented on them. When you do that, would you please give the chapter where you found the error and also the edition -- American, British, hardcover, trade paperback etc -- as well as the title, and the printing if you can. You can find the printing number on the same page with the copyright notice. In the American editions, there will be a line of numbers at the bottom of that page, something like this:

 

15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7

 

The last number in that line on the right is the number of that book's printing.

 

In the British editions, the entire printing history is given on the copyright page, a list of which years reprints occurred and how many times during that year.

 

That helps me to find where the error is located, if there is one. For example, somebody said that he or she found Verin channeling saidin in Lord of Chaos. Check as I can, I cannot find that anywhere in the book, and neither can my assistant Maria. Maybe it is there, but I can't find it.

 

I haven't been giving RAFOs much of late, mainly because some of you put entirely too much weight on that answer. Sometimes I give it because I intend to or might use something involving the answer in a future book and I don't want to give it away ahead of time. Sometimes I say RAFO because the answer, while not particularly important in and of itself, will give clues toward something I want to remain hidden a while longer. Rather than start empty arguments, I'm going to be sparing with the RAFOs, at least here in the blog.

 

For various folk, I will write the two additional prequel novels eventually, but I can't say exactly when. If the idea I have for the outrigger novels proves strong enough to actually do those, I'll probably do them first if for no other reason than they would be more complex and thus, to me, more interesting.

 

The list of questions that look to me as if they deserve answers keeps building up. At the moment, it stands at 110 pages. I'll answer as many as I can, but who can say whether I'll ever reach the bottom of the list?

 

Now.

 

For Anonymous (Arctice), who wants to know why the MMORPG was canceled, I'm assuming you mean the online version of the PC game. The computer game was a victim of corporate takeovers, I'm afraid. Legend/GTI did the original game, which got extremely good reviews, and they were eager to go on to do further games and also add-in modules for the first game. Plus there were to be the online "tournament" versions, as I seem to recall them being referred to back then. In the middle of all the furor, suddenly all I was getting from Legend/GTI was silence. When I finally made contact with them again, I learned that they had been bought by a French company and told to go in a new direction. I asked what that direction was and learned that they'd been told, "You'll know it when you find it." I haven't seen a game from Legend/GTI since and my royalty statements for the game come from Nintendo now. The rights have actually reverted to me, and shortly the extended period I gave them to dispose of games in stock will also expire, so if anybody out there happens to own a gaming company....

 

If that isn't what Anonymous (Arctice) was talking about, I apologize. You will have to elucidate further.

 

Now, somebody says that I said I am conversational in Spanish and French and can read German. I didn't say exactly that since it isn't exactly true. I used to be able to get along fairly well in Spanish and French, and when I spend a week or ten days in France my French starts coming back. I think the same might happen if I spent some time where Spanish is spoken. Long, long ago I could read German after a fashion, but I was intent on being able to read papers in physics and mathematics, so I could barely slog my way through a German menu, something I wouldn't want to even attempt now. I know very little Russian, mainly obscenities and curses. Purely soldier's Russian, you might say. Frankly, I was more fluent in Vietnamese than in Russian, and my Vietnamese was never more than enough to get by.

 

For Heartclaw, I doubt I'll ever write any further books about the Fallon family, but who knows? Let's just call it very unlikely.

 

For NaClH2O, a quiet word in your shell-like ear. Hoppin' John does NOT use black-eyed peas. Only someone who's from away, or even from off, would say such a thing. Cow peas, also called field peas or red peas in some regions, but NEVER black-eyed peas. And don't forget the other requirements, collard greens and benne seeds (sesame seeds for most people; benne is the West African word, used locally here). The smoked pork, preferably from the ham hock, should be in the Hoppin' John, of course.

 

For ben, of course women can be ta'veren. None of the major female characters in the books is ta'veren, though. The Wheel doesn't cast ta'veren around indiscriminately. There has to be a specific reason or need. (I tossed in the "major" just to leave you something to argue about.)

 

For kcf, the Terry Pratchett/J.K.Rowling broo-haha seems much overblown to me. J.K.Rowling said some silly things to which Terry made sensible replies only to have the headlines alter what he had said. And then the headline writers tried to cover themselves by altering the headlines online. Neil Gaiman, as near as I can make out, pointed this out. Enough said, and I wouldn't have dipped a toe in even if the sell-by date wasn't long past.

 

For Anonymous (The Grey Jedi), the sword forms are all my creations, but they, and their names, are patterned on sword forms used by the Japanese and Chinese. No, I am not a student of any of these sword forms. I own books illustrating a fair number of them, however.

 

For kolp, Oberonus and NaClH2O, what Taim did to those Saldaeans wasn't Compulsion. They just don't have the intelligence left that would be needed for anything too exacting.

 

For mmwhiterose, Siuan was raised to the Amrylin Seat so young for several reasons, most of which I have pointed out pretty clearly in the books, I think. The preceding years had seen a number of Amrylins die after only a short time in office. In New Spring: the Novel I showed one reason why the pool of potential Amrylins, Aes Sedai with experience, was reduced over part of that same period. And then there was the impasse over several candidates, none of whom could gain enough support, so that Siuan became a compromise candidate who was raised in part because various Sitters thought they could influence or control such a young Amrylin. Just as it is unusual for a sister to be raised to Sitter before she had worn the shawl for a hundred years, it is unusual for a sister to be raised to the Amrylin Seat short of having worn the shawl for a hundred and fifty to two hundred years, and above two hundred years is most common.

 

For NapoleonCoplin, the part of a Dreamer that enters Tel'aran'rhiod can be thought of as the Dreamer's consciousness, but it is any case not corporate. That is, it has no physical reality outside of Tel'aran'rhiod. A Dreamer might make a gateway from the Unseen World to the Waking World, but there would be nothing physical that could step through and exist outside of the Unseen World.

 

For Anonymous, there is a map of the entire world in the Guide, and also a map of the entire continent that holds Andor etc. Shara lies on that continent, east of the Aiel Waste. The inhabitants of this world think of there world as "the world" or as "the Earth." While there have been cultures on our planet that have given fanciful names to their worlds, most have referred to it as the world or earth.

 

For those who think I might log into a WoT chat room, forget about it. I browse the message boards periodically, but my time at my computer goes into writing.

 

For Wristrule, now and then a book gets bound upside down. They aren't really rarities of any sort. At least, not to any great degree. Thanks for the offer, though.

 

For those of you who think the razor that Mat gave to Tuon is a zebra, it isn't. I was thinking of a horse I once saw a picture of, an American paint, which in memory seemed to fit my description (white meeting black along dead-straight lines) very closely. In fact, the memory fit so well that I decided not to check whether the actual horse looked the way I recalled it. The recollection made a terrific image.

 

For Majsju, the oath against lying does leave room for sarcasm. It is intent and result that matter. No sister can intentionally speak an untruth either with the intent of passing on false information or with the belief that false information might be passed on. Thus the careful slicing and dicing of words. But if someone were to hold up a piece of white cloth and ask whether it was black or white, someone who had sworn the Three Oaths would be capable of saying that it was black as a matter of sarcasm. But not if, for example, the person asking the question was blind and thus might well take the statement for truth rather than sarcasm.

 

Various people have commented on Egwene being dumb with Rand, in particular contrasting how Pevara leaped immediately to a conclusion that he was ta'veren where the same information took Egwene to possible Compulsion. Pevara has a clean slate regarding Rand. Insofar as Compulsion goes, to her it is a forbidden weave, suppressed so effectively among women who come to the Tower that despite the fact that many wilders have some form of it as their first weaving, by the time the White Tower is done with them many of those same women can no longer make the weave nor, in some cases, even recall how to. How, then, does this young man come by Compulsion? Much more possible, however unlikely, that he is ta'veren. Egwene, on the other hand, grew up with Rand. She largely evaded the training that would have set the same thoughts regarding Compulsion in her head that Pevara has. Whatever Egwene has learned about Rand and now knows intellectually, there is a core of her that says he is Rand al'Thor rather the Dragon Reborn, or least before being the Dragon Reborn, and if Rand were in any way ta'veren, surely she would have noticed it during their years growing up. On the other hand, he has surprised her, and others, with abilities and knowledge of weaves, such as Traveling, that they didn't expect. If he is pulling strange weaves out of nowhere, who is to say that Compulsion isn't among them? It would certainly fit the information, after all.

 

For Isabel, hi, cutey. Regarding the scene at Dumai's Wells, the places they had Traveled to were not in the safety of the wagon-circle, where they were, but beyond it, among the Shaido. As for Illian, I was too crude in reinforcing something I had established earlier and wanted to reinforce, i.e. that you do not need to know a spot at all to Travel from it if the place you want to travel to is only a short distance away. Regarding Sharina, and other women who learn to channel at age, she will indeed grow younger in appearance. No, she will not achieve an Aes Sedai face without the Oath Rod, but where she has previously looked, say, sixty, she will look perhaps thirty-five, with accompanying changes in hair color. Think of it as analogous to slowing, which older women also do.

 

Now, regarding knives and the use and throwing of same. For NaClH2o and File Leader both, the blade length depends. I just did a quick survey around my desk and environs, coming up with six knives that qualify if you allow the one-piece Ek with the parachute-cord wrapped hilt. The balance of it is just right. All have at least a slight protuberance demarcating the end of blade/beginning of hilt or vice versa. Blade length varies from five inches to seven inches. The protuberance is all you need to keep your hand off the blade in a fight, really, and as for blade length, you'll have be pretty thick if I can't reach all of your vitals with five inches of steel. Heart or kidneys are all that really count in the trunk. Plus which, more often than stabbing I would be going for the blood vessels on the inside of the wrist, the inside of the elbow and/or the outside of the neck. Easier and quicker and surer to reach. If it isn't a knife fight, just a killing, then you come up from behind and insert your blade, parallel to the ground, into the side of the neck below the earlobe (distance to be adjusted per size of target), and thrust clear through to the other side thus slicing through the carotids, the jugular, the windpipe and the vocal cords. Some like to sweep the blade outward, slashing open the throat, but this is overly flamboyant, allows a lot of blood to escape (you might want to hide the sucker, after all), and sometimes allows him to get out something like a loud grunt, perhaps sufficient to alert others you would just as soon remained unalerted for the moment. Some people prefer doing a Wingate, but I think it's iffy, myself. You give the guy that added split second to react. And as for getting cut, one reason for throwing a knife rather than getting in close is to avoid getting cut. That doesn't always work, of course, Witness Mat after the visit to the hell.

 

For Jacham, I am not saying that there is no relative evil, no shades of gray. What I am saying, and complaining about, is that allowing shades of gray has led us all too often to believe that there is nothing except shades of gray. All truths are equal. By that reasoning, Hitler's reasons for murdering millions of Jews, and others, in the death camps carry as much validity, and are as "right," as any other opinion regarding him and the camps. You might say that I have front loaded that, but it wasn't so long ago that I heard of a number of students in a college class who refused to write papers which called on them to condemn the Holocaust, not because they didn't believe it happened and not because they were Nazi sympathizers, but because doing so would have required them to be judgmental. All versions of the truth must be given equal weight. That's the current thinking. And it's bull. Yes, there are gray areas. Yes, there is relative evil. But that is all too often today taken as an excuse to say that it's all relative. One man's perceived evil is another man's inconvenience. That last is a quote from a man, now dead, who was a terrific writer and a great intellect. I could never argue him down on that one, however. But I never stopped trying. Relativism or no relativism, however many shades of gray you want to call up, evil still exists, and if you won't expend the effort to figure out where and what it is, then one day it will swallow you whole.

 

Well, not so long as some of the more recent posts, but times is running short, guys. See you again soon, I hope.

 

All my best,

RJ

Guest Robert Jordan

SORRY ABOUT THE PREMATURE ANNOUNCEMENT

Well, guys, the letter in Locus is indeed from me. I had hoped to be a little more focused with this and get a post up here before anything came out in Locus, or anywhere else public, so you would get it first, but I flat forgot that Charles has his on-line version of Locus now, too. Sorry about that.

 

Don't get too upset, guys. Worse comes to worst, I will finish A Memory of Light, so the main story arc, at least, will be completed. And frankly, as I said, I intend to beat this thing. Anything can be beaten with the right attitude, and my attitude is, I have too many books to write yet for me to just lie down. Don't have time for it. Besides, I promised Harriet I'd be around for our 50th, and that means another 25 years from this month right there. Can't break a promise to Harriet, now can I?

 

I had intended to go on with a few answers to questions when I made this post (I see some interesting ones), but that will have to wait, I'm afraid. I have a few other things to get done first. Maybe I'll be able to get that up this afternoon or tomorrow. No promises, though. Before I go to Mayo, though, I promise. And updates from the Mayo as I can manage.

 

Oh, yes. When the hair goes, with the chemo -- as it is very likely to do -- I'll post some before and after shots, just so people showing up in Seattle and Anchorage won't think we've run in a ringer. Yes, I plan to keeping those signings in late June. The chemo and recuperation should be finished by mid-to-late May, so I can make it. Hey, there will be big salmon running in Alaska at that time, and I never passed up a chance at big fish in my life.

 

Again, sorry that you got the news in such a raggedy fashion. I really did mean to handle things more smoothly.

 

Take care, guys. Until the next time.

 

All my best,

RJ

Guest Wilson

Blades

Writing as Robert Jordan, James Rigney made knowledge his stock in trade. In order to write effectively about men and non-men who fought with swords and lances, he hefted them, he swung them. He studied what life is like for a man who makes his meat and beer with a battle axe. He would hold a spear or sword and contemplate the use of it in combat. Some swords are better in small areas, whereas long swords are better suited for larger space. He'd use them to learn about things like that. Einstein is quoted as saying, "I have no particular talent. I am only passionately curious." RJ, Jim was that, and more.

 

Jim collected all manner of bladed weapons. In Jason's description of his trip to Charleston for RJ's funeral, he took some photos of the room outside RJ's office which the family lovingly calls "The Armory". Those photos appeared on RJ's blog, but they only gave you a glimpse of the collection. It is immense. The blades were Jim's passion, not Harriet's, so he very generously left them to the three guys close to him: his brother, son and me. The three of us have given many pieces away to others who were also very close to RJ. We invited Brandon Sanderson to wander through and pick something of his liking, something that spoke to him. He sent me the most wonderful thank you note and has placed the sword, a samurai, on the wall above his writing desk. To accompany the sword, Brandon had a plaque engraved with warm words about RJ and looks at it for inspiration as he pens the last of Jim's epic. Some of Jim's blades have been placed in the hands of soldiers, airmen and Marines who will find use of them when they are deployed.

 

After selecting items for ourselves and sharing many with others, we still find ourselves with a collection that is, well, unmanageable. Each of us would very much like to hang onto ALL the items, but eventually, in the interest of spatial or marital harmony, most of it would have to go. So, we have decided to do that sooner rather than later. We know that Jim would have wanted some of his fans to have the opportunity to own some of his personal items.

 

The actual mechanics of this will be handled by a close family friend, Greg Kitchens. Greg is a Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves. He is a military weapons and history expert, though he would humbly deny that fact. Greg spent hours sitting with Jim, discussing the military art, history and the numerous items in both their collections. We are honored that a blade from the collection will be in Greg's boot when he goes to the Sand Box this December. What he doesn't know off hand, he diligently researches himself, or finds an expert in that particular field. Greg is performing exacting research on the pieces and will offer to the best of our ability a description of each item. Every piece will also be accompanied by a letter of authenticity stating that it came from the personal collection of Robert Jordan. This letter will be individually signed by Harriet and Greg, our "Armorer".

 

RJ's blade collection contains swords, knives, hatchets, and spears. Some are antique, some reproductions, and some are modern. There are blades for hunting, fishing, camping, survival, fighting and everything in between. Most are in excellent or new condition. There are a few custom blades and many good blades from reputable manufacturers. Jim appreciated quality and simple, functional practicality yet had an eye for historical significance. His collection reflects those values. There are very few fancy wall-hangers and a plethora of solidly useful weapons, high-quality practice weapons and tools.

 

We will be offering the Robert Jordan collection on eBay beginning over the next couple of weeks. Some of the more valuable antiques and custom knives will undoubtedly appeal to collectors, as well as WOT fans.

 

Wilson

Brother/Cousin

4th of 3

 

[Editor's note: We'll post more details and links to the eBay auctions when they come online.]

Guest Robert Jordan

ONE MORE TIME

My, this could get addictive. I hope you guys realize that I'll be going silent this weekend, for the duration of the tour. But I'll try to get in another post or two before then. No promises, however.

 

First off, apologies to everyone if I misspell your screen name. It seems that may turn out to be a bad habit I can't break. Spellcheck is no help at all, of course.

 

For Deadsy, the last book I completed was Walter Mosley's Cinnamon Kiss. I just started Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. And I'm ashamed to say that when I first saw your post on wotmania about having a secret, I thought, "Ah-ha! Palm or hairbrush?" Just following the context, and your blushes. Then I realized what it was. Thank you for keeping the secret.

 

For Corin Ashaman, I've never changed anything because of a post. I did think of doing so when I first discovered the online community. I'd see someone who had figured out where I was going with something and think that I should change it just to keep the surprise factor. But there was always somebody else, often a lot of somebodies, who would post explaining why the first post just had to be wrong. So I went ahead and did what I had planned to do. Now, when somebody figures out what's what, I just think that's somebody who's on the ball and go on with my writing.

 

For elementfwwe, what keeps me going is that I enjoy what am doing. Think about it. I can make a living doing what I enjoy more than anything except sex. I don't pattern characters after real people, but I do sometimes lift part of a real person for a character. I will say that a character in KoD, Charlz Guybon, is named after a man whose wife won an auction for naming rights after I agreed to be part of a fund raiser for an English charity that works with victims of torture. She sent me his description, which I used. As I've often said, each of my major female characters has at least one element drawn from Harriet. And I won't tell her which parts of which characters came from her. That despite the fact that, as she likes to point out, she knows where I sleep. She did figure out that she is Semirhage when the garbage doesn't get to the curb on time, though. As for my idol, that is my father, now deceased. He was a wonderful man, with a rich life. I'll try to paint a small picture. He got his first car, a Model A, at the age of thirteen because he had the habit of hitching rides with bootleggers in the Tennessee mountains, and after he was in a wreck where the driver ran off and my father told the police who had been chasing them that he had been driving, his father decided to put an end to the hitching. He was a noted middleweight boxer in the 1930s, rising in the rankings, but stopped after he badly injured another man in the ring. He was a veteran of WWII who spent a lot of time behind the Japanese lines, a quiet, gentle man who taught me to rebuild automobile engines, to hunt and fish. He told stories over the campfire when we were out hunting or fishing, thus starting me on the road to storytelling myself. He never said a word about me stealing shotgun shells from his stock so a known bootlegger and poacher would take me into the woods with him. Well, I didn't know about the poaching until later. But Junior knew more about the woods than anybody else I've ever met. My father was a poker shark with a photographic memory who allowed me to sit in for three hands whenever the weekly game was at our house, even when I was young enough to need to sit on three encyclopedias to be able to get my arms on the table. He staked me, he ate the losses, and we split any winnings I had. I did win one of those hands while sitting on stacked up Encyclopedia Americanas. He told my brothers and me that he had few requirements of us. Be honest. Keep your word always. Try to do better with your life than he had done with his. And whatever you decided to be, whether it was a college professor or an auto mechanic, be the best at it that you could manage to be. Yes, he was, and is, my idol.

 

For Niall Reborn, I don't think that lurking will make me lose detachment or distance. But then, I don't really do it very often. Oh, yes. Slayer just chooses who he will be when he steps into or out of Tel'aran'rhiod. The stepping in and out is part of the mechanism for his change. He couldn't do it in the middle of a street, say, not without the stepping in or out. Which might be a little noticeable, since he would vanish from sight for a perceptible time.

 

For Infested Templar, I had little to do with the RPG. Mainly my role was limited to telling them that they could not have paladins, ninjas, clerics, shuriken etc. I had to put so much time into that fighting that I washed my hands of the rest, I'm afraid. I could see that trying to make them actually adapt the books was going to be Valmy Ridge all over again. At least I managed to stop them from putting in a ter'angreal that could bring on the Last Battle in some unspecified manner and also some other really terrible ideas. I wish I had been able to do more, but I had a book to write.

 

For Child of Lir, until I recently learned that there is a fern called leatherleaf, I thought that I had made the name up out of thin air. In any case, mine is a tree. Several of the trees I have named have been, I thought, my inventions. I am surprised that that they actually exist.

 

For Gillmadin, I actually had comparatively few notes when I sold the books to Tor. They built up considerably over the writing of The Eye of the World, and still more later. To give an example, for Eye, I had considerable notes about the Aes Sedai, about Andor, the Two Rivers, Shienar, the Ways and the history of the world, but my notes on, say Cairhien, were much sketchier. When I needed to write about Cairhien, though, I fleshed those notes out. I didn't begin writing the Wheel of Time until after I was finished with writing the Conan novels, but some of the ideas that would become tWoT were kicking around in my head before I began The Fallon Blood.

 

For Segovia, my intention is finish with twelve books, and that may mean that the last book will be VERY long, but I really can't say how long it will take me to write. My publisher is always trying to get me to commit to a time frame. I just do a little sand dance until he goes away. I carry a small bottle of sand with me in New York for exactly that purpose.

 

For Mr Mashadar, I think Faile's reaction is perfectly reasonable. Here she is thinking that Perrin may just be Mr Right, and then this sultry floozy waltzes in and starts trying to put the moves on him. Berelain even says right out that she'll take him away from Faile. Even without that, Faile has plenty of reason to consider Berelain a floozy and essentially worthless. After all, from what she knows, Berelain has tried putting the moves on not only Perrin, but also Rand and quite likely Rhuarc. She can't be inside Berelain's head to know that Berelain uses sex and her reputation as political tools. So why would she want to be chums with Berelain?

 

Also for Mr Mashadar, I think, my favorite fantasy novel is The Lord of the Rings, hands down. The largest effect that it had on my writing was a desire to be the flip side of the coin, to take the comfortable old tropes and put a different spin on them. Also, the creation of paradox is one source of balefire's danger. Remember that in the War of the Shadow, even the forces of the Shadow gave up using it because of the fear that reality itself might unravel.

 

For Krassos, yes, a channeler could still channel wearing Mat's amulet. Cadsuane has one much like it. And I think that I will complete "Trust" eventually. I think about doing so every now and then.

 

For Anonymous, you can send plot related questions to me through my publisher, but I don't often answer those.

 

For Phil Reborn, Lanfear climbed onto the wagon to get the angreal. Rand was occupying her to the extent that she couldn't afford to just use flows of Air to bring it to her. And Lanfear being Lanfear, there was a touch of the dramatic in it. She was always a drama queen.

 

For Alys Kinch, the Healing of stilling must be done by the other gender to be fully effective. A woman Healing a woman or a man Healing a man results in less than full restoration. It all ties into that theme I keep harping on. Men and women have to work together to be their most effective. And while the weave used by Flinn for Healing is not exactly that used by Nynaeve, either would use the same weave on a man or a woman.

 

For Randshammer, you might say that mortals made the Horn of Valere. They certainly weren't gods. No, the story is NOT a dream. Jeez Marie! A very strong male channeler bonded to a very weak Aes Sedai could not use the bond to control her. Whoever holds the bond is in charge, though she might have a hard time controlling him. Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else. Yes, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene could pass the test for Aes Sedai with their current abilities, though Nynaeve might be a little hard pressed. Too much specialization. And finally, as I have said, I would not change anything in the books except the way that I structured CoT.

 

For Sodas, when you are balefired, you are dead, dead, dead. It almost seemed redundant to say so.

 

For Sidious, when Alivia faced Cyndane, Alivia was by far the stronger because of her angreal, and had various tools (ter'angreal) to work with besides, but Cyndane was much, much more knowledgeable about channeling. Alivia, after all, knew relatively little except how to be a weapon. That was very useful in the situation, but in this case, knowledge versus strength made it an even match. Now as to Rahvin sitting on his throne and being shocked to see Rand. First off, he knew his first trap hadn't worked, but he had others ready. He saw no reason to start jumping about. He thought he was maneuvering Rand into a series of traps, one of which he was sure would work. He did not expect Rand to simply leap into the same room with him. He did not expect Rand to know that he could Travel to somewhere in sight of himself without knowing the ground. So what he had expected to be a chess game where he knew the positions of all the pieces and Rand did not suddenly turned into a close-quarters slugging match. Surprise!

 

For Paetram, the game of Stones is very much like Go. No, I don't play go myself, only go-moku. It is remarkably hard to learn the game when you have no one to play against. I would love to find a computer game to practice against, but I haven't been able to find one. I probably haven't looked hard enough. There must be one out there.

 

For Gyrehead, Foretelling is not related to strength. The weakest possible channeler could Foretell as strongly as Elaida or Nicola, or perhaps even more so, depending entirely on the strength of his or her Talent for Foretelling. The three Red Sitters were sent into exile in 985 NE under Marith Jaen. Yes, Morgase has slowed, and that is exactly why there is so much emphasis on her looking only ten years older than Perrin when she has children the ages of Elayne and Gawyn. Regarding the percentage of women who could test for the shawl, it would be 62.5% of the bellcurve. I'll leave the maths to you for an idle moment. The question doesn't really apply to men, since the Black Tower accepts anyone who can learn to channel, but if the White Tower limits were applied, it would be roughly 65.4% of the bellcurve. Although, considering the effectiveness question, they should probably set it at the same 62.5%. Again, the maths are all yours. Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels. Remember to integrate this with what I've said elsewhere about effectiveness, though.

 

For ems, I really don't mind that some of you hate characters, and I don't mind the spam. Sometimes I read the theories, and if you mean by listen to the debates, read the posted discussions, then yes, I do, sometimes. This is very much a sometime thing, though. I don't have much time to lurk, so I drift around until I see what seems an interesting thread and peek in.

 

For foxhead, I think you'll find this covered elsewhere, but here goes. The evil of Shadar Logoth and the evil of the Shadow might be considered positive and negative poles. They attract, as do the positive and negative poles of two magnets, but if they make contact, the result is more like making contact between the positive and negative poles of your car battery. Big sparks. Really big sparks.

 

For Mike Hopessorrow, it took me aback a little the first time I saw myself named as the Creator, but I don't really mind. So long as you don't start believing I deserve the cap. Now when a very pretty roughly twenty-year old girl, trembling mind, said to me, "You're a god!", that I liked a lot.

 

For Linda Sedai, Rand misjudges Taim's age because when they meet, you might say Taim has been rode hard and put away wet. He has just finished a long and difficult flight to reach Caemlyn, the one place where he might find refuge instead of being hunted -- along with other reasons -- and that has a wearing effect on anyone. Now that he has recovered, he doesn't look so old.

 

Well, that ought to be enough for today, guys. Enjoy.

 

All my best,

RJ

Guest Robert Jordan

ONE MORE TIME

Well, here I am again. I've compiled a long list of questions from various places, and I'll try to answer as many as I can before the tour begins. I won't be taking them in any specific order.

 

First off, for JBumG, my apologies for misspelling your name.

 

For DomA, I can't be sure that the logical patterns you see in the election of Amyrlins are the same that I used in making the list, but there are logical patterns to them. If Harriet adds to the Encyclopedia who was a strong Amyrlin, who middling and who weak, you might see more patterns.

 

For F Horn of Valere, I spend relatively little time with the notes compared to the time I spend actually writing. I do a refresher run-through before I begin writing, and I have what I call a "base notes" file for each storyline and each group. That contains the major things I believe might be necessary for each storyline along with reminders of where more detailed information is to be found.

 

For HotW-Moiraine, yes, the bearded man ter'angreal could be said to be my Alfred Hitchcock moment. In KoD, you'll learn what it does.

 

For SemiArmadillo, Harriet doesn't post to any websites.

 

For kcf, I think I would like fans to walk away with the following. If the answer is easy, consider the possibility that you asked the wrong question.

 

For Infested Templar, two women linking have slightly less of saidar available to them than the two women would have individually. But it can be used much, much more precisely, and therefore more effectively, than they could manage working merely as partners. The reduction also occurs for men entering a circle. One man in a circle means that only the amount of saidin that he can handle, less the reduction for being in a circle, is available. Men can be much stronger than women in the pure quantity of the Power that they can channel, but on a practical level, women are much more deft in their weaving and that means the strongest possible woman can do just about anything that the strongest possible man could, and to the same degree. And finally, the Old Tongue is written in a script that has more letters than the English alphabet, some representing diphthongs. That script will be in the Encyclopedia that Harriet will do, along with 950 or so words of the Old Tongue derived from what is called Basic English, the 950 words necessary to carry on a understandable conversation. Some words I dropped as essentially unnecessary to the books -- electricity, for example -- while others -- such as sword and names of birds and animals -- I had to add. The total might come nearer 1000 words by now.

 

For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the "present day" sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.

 

For N.O. Scott, no development in any of the characters has ever caught me by surprise, though once or twice I have realized that I could use someone in a fashion I hadn't expected to. There have been a few things that I intended to do but didn't. Sometimes, choosing to take a character in a certain direction precludes other things. The only thing that I wish I hadn't done was use the structure that I did for CoT, with major sections beginning on the same day. Mind, I still think the book works as it is, but I believe it would have been better had I taken a more linear approach. When you try something different, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

 

For Brent Ross, getting an agent isn't expensive. An agent makes his or her money from taking a commission on what your work is sold for and earns. Agents who want reading fees and the like are to be distrusted, in my book. You really need an agent, though, if you want to sell your work, short fiction aside. I don't know of a major publishing house that will even look at unagented submissions any more.

 

For Lucky Day, Asha'man have varying degrees of ability with the sword, just like anyone else. There has to be a certain level of talent for anyone to reach a particular level of skill, and also there is the question of how hard a particular person might try at learning the word. After all, he can channel, right? Sword? I don't need no stinking sword, gringo!

 

For Children of the Light, the Whitecloaks were inspired by the Inquisition, the SS, the Teutonic Knights and others. In fact, they were inspired by all those groups who say, "We know the truth. It is the only truth. You will believe it, or we will kill you."

 

For Perrin WT, I don't think about how many pages I do in a day. I don't believe I've ever really tried to estimate it. The way I work, frequently going back to rewrite something done earlier, makes it very hard to count pages per day. I have misspelled characters names now and then; when I am typing very fast, sometimes my fingers get dyslexic. I believe my grammar is very good, though I sometimes use constructions that I doubt any English teacher I ever had would approve of. First you learn the rules. Then you can start learning when and where you can break the rules.

 

For Shiska, a mixed gender circle has X amount of saidin and Y amount of saidar available, set by the strengths of the men and women in it. Talents or special skills available to members of the circle other than whoever is melding the flows are not available to the person who is. If those Talents or skills are particularly needed, then control of the circle must be passed.

 

For Rifty, the extra body Rand found was that of a Gray Man. And, by the way, proof that the lady was no lady. She was a Darkfriend.

 

For Margot, I'm sure that people will still want quasi-medieval fantasy, but other types are interesting, too. In Infinity of Heaven, one of the cultures involved will be at more of an early-to-mid Eighteenth Century level, complete with gunpowder weapons. I'd like to do some books set in a late Victorian or Edwardian world, and I have a stand-alone in mind that I might do eventually which is set partly in the present day and partly in various real historical periods. As you say, other writers are broadening the field, and that is good, to my mind.

 

For Crowl Rife, the last movie I saw in a theater was Junebug. It has some truly sad parts, but Harriet and I laughed through most of it. Then she took a couple of her friends to see it, and they thought it was the most depressing thing they had ever seen. Go figure.

 

For Cooner 1987, I don't think there is any similarity between Hobbits and the Two Rivers folk. The Two Rivers people are based on a lot of country people I have known, and among whom I did a lot of my growing up. I did try to make the first roughly 100 pages of EYE seem somewhat Tolkienesque. I wanted to say, "This is the place you know, guys. Now we're going somewhere else." And then the Trolloc kicked in the farmhouse door. But I didn't take it to the point of trying to make the Two Rivers folk seem like Hobbits. I mean, I love The Lord of the Rings and have read it at least a dozen times, but when you have too many Hobbits together, they can be so bloody cute that I need a stiff drink.

 

For Flavion, I'm sorry you've had some bad experiences with writers. I think a writer should either make an effort to be pleasant with the fans or else avoid them. Of course.... A fellow once wrote me a long screed, back around The Great Hunt or perhaps The Dragon Reborn, complaining bitterly, and I do mean bitterly, about the complexity of the plots making the books unreadable. I shouldn't have done it, but I wrote back suggesting that he try The Velveteen Rabbit as more his speed. In my defense, I can only say that it was late in the day, and I was tired.

 

For son o'merc, I doubt I'll ever do any short stories, but who knows? Never say never.

 

For Anonymous -- a busy poster -- the ruby in Padan Fain's dagger is just a ruby. Of course, the entire dagger is corrupted and corrupting.

 

And last but not least, for Deadsy, there is only one way for you find out whether I wear boxers or briefs, and you wouldn't like Harriet's reaction. Neither would I. Yes, I've begun picking up questions before they reach the blog.

 

That's all for now, guys.

 

Take care.

 

All my best,

RJ

Guest Robert Jordan

YET ANOTHER POST

First off, to all of you have said thank you, in so many ways, for writing these books, you're welcome. And also thank you. You have given me what every writer wants, a readership that is truly involved and interested. Thank you, very much.

 

Some of you have expressed worry over my lurking and a fear that I might take offense at some of the posts. I don't. Not even at the trolls. Please feel free to keep on saying whatever you have been saying. I am not the thought police.

 

For Seriana Sedai, don't worry. I won't be discussing spam here. To tell you the truth, I skip over it very quickly.

 

DomA asks whether I feel sadness at the hatred of Cadsuane. No, nor do I feel sadness over those who dislike Egwene or Elayne or Faile or insert name here. The characters are who I want them to be. Some, people will like, and others people will dislike. In any case, I've noticed that even Faile has her supporters. As for her, I like her a lot. But then, I like all of my characters, even Semirhage. Even Padan Fain. As a character, anyway. As for Faile, she is a tough woman with a lot of gumption. Taken prisoner, enslaved in truth, caught in a cleft stick by the threats of Galina and Therava, she has (1) tried to get her people to freedom as she could and (2) worked toward an escape for the rest. However tough her situation gets, she wastes zero time on moaning about it. She gets on with trying to make it better. And Cadsuane? She's the tough maiden aunt a lot of us have had. Not the one who tries to keep you a child your whole life. She's the one who began expecting at least some adult responses out of you at about age six, the one who was willing to hand you responsibilities that everyone else thought you were too young for. You probably had a more nerve-wracking time, and more excitement and adventure, with her than you did with any three or four other adults in your life.

 

Now then. Isabel. Does your mother know you're posting at 1 AM? Do I need to ask her to supervise your online activities? Well, I suppose it might be 1 AM Eastern time, or Pacific. And you are in the Netherlands. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And thank you for the spirited defense. I probably won't answer plot-related questions, but who knows. I might slip up and do one now and then.

 

For Rohit and Mand680, Robert Jordan doesn't come out of Hemingway. In fact, when I first made the connection, I had already written three books under the name. My pen names have all been chosen from three lists of names using my real initials. It has been a matter of one from column A and one from column B, or maybe column C. One pen name actually managed to contain all three initials in a first name and a surname.

 

For Cloverleaf, my next set of books after The Wheel of Time will also be fantasy, entitled Infinity of Heaven. The writing style will remain the same, though I will keep trying, as I always have, to get better. There are no plans to publish a collection of my raw notes, but Harriet, with my incidental help, will be doing an Encyclopedia of WoT which will have a lot of stuff out of the notes.

 

For llm (hope I have that spelled correctly), I do daily backups using Nero and keep the backup discs in a safe place so that if something drastic happens to my main computer, all I need do is pick up a laptop, pop in the discs, and go on working.

 

For JBunG, I will definitely be spending a lot more time writing than on the blog. Now, I put in an hour now and again on the blog, every few days. When I go on tour, the blog will go silent for a while. And when I come back and go to full work days on Book 12, I'll probably post no more than once a week unless I have something I think really needs to be said.

 

And for MJJ, as posted by DomA, pillow friends are not just good friends. Oh, they are that, too, but they also get hot and sweaty together and muss up the sheets something fierce. By the way, pillow friends is a term used in the White Tower. The same relationship between men or women elsewhere would be called something else, depending on the country.

 

Well, enough of that. Some of you are probably getting afraid that I intend to post daily screeds by this time. I have a list of questions to answer already, and I'll try to get to the rest of them, and any others that pop up, before I go on tour.

 

Take care, guys.

 

All my best,

RJ

Guest Robert Jordan

HI, THERE.

Wilson has kept you pretty much up to date regarding my numbers, which continue good, so I won't bother with them. I am hanging in there pretty good, over all. A few bumps, a few potholes, but I work my way around or over them and keep going. Hey, I've got commitments to keep, right?

 

I think I need to put a few things straight about this whole shooting down an rpg in flight thing. First off, it definitely comes under do not try this at home even if you ARE an expert. Expert is defined as anyone who has tried it once and is still breathing. You see, there aren't many reasons to try such a thing. But when looking right shows certain death coming hotfoot, and looking left shows a crack in the wall that you couldn't scrape though one time in a million...one in ten million...you instinctively make a dive for the crack. Now I was very lucky. Very lucky. I just happened to be laying down suppression not very far from Mr. NVA when he took his shot, so I only has a small arc to cover. Just a quick shift of the wrist. Still, a lot of luck involved. When the pilot asked what happened, I just said an rpg went off prematurely. I figured he wouldn't believe what happened. Even some guys who saw it all from other choppers didn't believe. I heard a lot of "You know, it almost looked like you shot that thing out of the air" and "You were really lucky that thing went off prematurely. I never heard of that happening before."

 

Now there's the matter of actually seeing the rpg in flight. That came from being in the Zone. An RPG is a rocket propelled grenade, and it is fast, fast, fast. I've heard a lot of athletes and sportscasters talk about being in the Zone, but I think most of them simply mean they played their A-game. But they weren't in the Zone, because in the Zone, you don't make mistakes. None. I discovered this playing baseball and basketball and later football. You can't always get there, certainly not at will, but when you do.... What happens is that while you are moving at normal speed, everybody else, everything else, is moving in slow motion. Passes float like they were drifting through honey. You have all the time in the world to position yourself. And your vision improves, sharpens. The quarterback has carried out a perfect bootleg. Everybody thinks that fullback coming up the middle has the ball. But even if you didn't catch the motion when the QB tucked the ball behind his leg, you spot that tiny sliver of ball that just barely shows, and you're right there to meet him when he reaches the line. Maybe you drop him for a loss before he can get his pass off. In the Zone. That's the only reason I could make this play.

 

On another note, I was riding an M-60 on a pintle mount, not a .50 cal. We only had a limited number of Ma-deuces, and we had to be careful not to let any IG inspectors see them because we weren't authorized to have any at all. Don't know whether I could have done it with a .50, frankly. A matter of just that much more weight to swing, that much more inertia to overcome. It was damned close even with a 60.

 

For Dr. J.W. Stubbe, I am on pulse therapy with the dexamethazone, lowering the exposure, and the docs here are watching everything. I have developed pregnazone (SP?) skin, where the skin becomes thin and fragile, easily bruised and easily torn, but I guess it can't all be good beer and hot chili.

 

For Paracelsus, I had two nicknames in 'Nam. First up was Ganesha, after the Hindu god called the Remover of Obstacles. He's the one with the elephant head. That one stuck with me, but I gained another that I didn't like so much. The Iceman. One day, we had what the Aussies called a bit of a brass-up. Just our ship alone, but we caught an NVA battalion crossing a river, and wonder of wonders, we got permission to fire before they finished. The gunner had a round explode in the chamber, jamming his 60, and the fool had left his barrel bag, with spares, back in the revetment. So while he was frantically rummaging under my seat for my barrel bag, it was over to me, young and crazy, standing on the skid, singing something by the Stones at the of my lungs with the mike keyed so the others could listen in, and Lord, Lord, I rode that 60. 3000 rounds, an empty ammo box, and a smoking barrel that I had burned out because I didn't want to take the time to change. We got ordered out right after I went dry, so the artillery could open up, and of course, the arty took credit for every body recovered, but we could count how many bodies were floating in the river when we pulled out. The next day in the orderly room an officer with a literary bent announced my entrance with "Behold, the Iceman cometh." For those of you unfamiliar with Eugene O'Neil, the Iceman was Death. I hated that name, but I couldn't shake it. And, to tell you the truth, by that time maybe it fit. I have, or used to have, a photo of a young man sitting on a log eating C-rations with a pair of chopsticks. There are three dead NVA laid out in a line just beside him. He didn't kill them. He didn't chose to sit there because of the bodies. It was just the most convenient place to sit. The bodies don't bother him. He doesn't care. They're just part of the landscape. The young man is glancing at the camera, and you know in one look that you aren't going to take this guy home to meet your parents. Back in the world, you wouldn't want him in your neighborhood, because he is cold, cold, cold. I strangled that SOB, drove a stake through his heart, and buried him face down under a crossroad outside Saigon before coming home, because I knew that guy wasn't made to survive in a civilian environment. I think he's gone. All of him. I hope so. I much prefer being remembered as Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles.

 

For Carol S, no one has said word one about the disease stabilizing yet. It's just too premature. For now, the fact that my numbers continue to be good is enough for me.

 

For Cody Griffin, thanks for your service, and congrats on the promotion. I'll ride the Ma-deuce on your APC any time, Cody. Who ever said I was sane?

 

For Me, please let your father know he is in my prayers.

 

For Ransomedge,. you also are in my prayers. Keep fighting, man, and you can beat it.

 

For Doug Hall, thank you for your service. For Cindy Oberschlake, I know the area where you father was killed, but I never met him. I'm afraid that he died before I reached 'Nam.

 

For Kathy, I'm afraid I didn't know your father. Sorry.

 

For Lelon White, I'm amazed that you are still bothering with me, considering the problems you have in your own life. You take care of yourself.

 

For David, hang in there, man. You can beat it. You will beat it. The first step is refusing to give up. That's the key.

 

Well that's about enough for now. I have up days and down days, and today just hasn't decided which way it's going yet. I think I'm going to try to relax until I can figure it out.

 

Take care, everybody.

 

RJ

Guest Robert Jordan

The Very Best Christmas Present Ever

This is a very short post, I'm afraid. I know it's been awhile since I posted last, but various things kept getting in the way. Still, here goes, with the best Christmas present I've ever received. Something I had to share without any delay.

 

As you all no doubt know by now, the marker for amyloids is something called Lambda Light Chains, which are found in the blood. The normal range is between 1 and 3. Five months ago, I was at 75. Four months ago, that had gone up to 96. The higher the LLC number, the worse for you. So I wasn't doing so hot.

 

This morning the Mayo gave me my most recent LLC number. 3.14!!!! No, that isn't a typo. 3.14!!! I'm on the brink of normal. Something I never thought I'd say about myself in any regard, frankly. I've got Liston the ropes, guys, and I really believe that your prayers and well-wishes have helped put him there. Now I just have to put him on the canvas. This isn't a cure, and I'm not even sure whether it will count as remission, but it means I'm still on my feet and will be for a while yet. 3.14! Hot damn!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everybody.

 

I'll talk to you again after the 1st.

 

RJ

Guest Wilson

Robert Jordan's Citadel memorial dedication

Family, friends and fans of fantasy gathered at The Citadel on Tuesday 8 April 2008 to dedicate a permanent memorial to my brother/cousin, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. This was a celebration of Jim’s life and his work. I would be lying were I to tell you I was looking forward to the event. We had assembled only a few weeks earlier at the Citadel to induct Jim into the South Carolina Author’s Hall of Fame. That evening had propelled me back to the awful moments in September when we lost Jim. Both Harriet and I were in dread of the same happening yet again. It didn’t. Rather the opposite.

 

Harriet had told us all, Onward, still she and I (and I’m sure the rest of the family) were mired in that part of grieving that causes us to hang on, denial. Only a day before, Harriet had rolled up her sleeves and dove headlong into the first chapter of MoL. She, Jim’s loyal staff and Brandon were hard at work on the book. She called me to share that and her excitement was obvious. She sounded like a new woman. Harriet told me that she finally knew that Jim wasn’t coming back. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t still hurt. The hurt will never totally subside, but now it doesn’t interfere with going "onward". Indeed it helps to maintain purpose and focus.

 

The memorial dedication was begun by a brief introduction of the event from Angie LeClercq, the Director of the Library. The introduction of the panel was made by our own Harriet. Sitting with her were Michael Livingston (Assistant Professor of Medieval Literature at The Citadel), Brandon Sanderson (Elantris, Mistborn) and Dave Drake (Hammer Slammers series, Lord of the Isles series and at least 60 other books). Michael Livingston began by offering what he thought Jim had meant to literature. He compared the body of writers to that of waves on the ocean with peaks and troughs, with the last peak being JRR Tolkein. After him there was a long period in the trough of the wave, then came Jordan. Brandon then waded in with the impact Jordan had upon him as a 15 year old reading fantasy for the first time. He said that his parents were directing him towards Chemistry and Medical School. But Jordan’s fantasy world hooked him so much that he too wanted to write. But every time he’d try something, he’d say to himself, "I can’t. Jordan already did that." (For you writers of the future out there, Brandon wrote 12 books before getting one published. Never quit.) This prompted questions about Jordan’s impact on other writers, "were there people following his style?" I think you all know the answer to that question, there are many. Dave Drake added the observation that there are those who write about something and there are those who write about something that they know because they’ve lived it. He used his own experience from Vietnam to illustrate his point. He said that when you read Jordan you are privy to Jordan’s experiences. The question was asked about who might be the next wave peak. Brandon offered a wonderful bit of insight. It won’t be someone who imitates another’s work. Brandon said that the one(s) who get it right will look not at what Jordan did, but how he did it. If they are successful in applying the method to their own experience, then we may see the next great writer.

 

The photo below shows (from right to left) Harriet, Michael, Brandon and Dave. The glass case directly behind them houses the memorabilia. There you will find copies of all of Jim’s books, a Heron marked blade, his wide-brimmed black hat, his ram’s horn cane, his military decorations as well as his unit insignia from the 68th Attach Helicopter Company, photos of Jim throughout his life and of course, his Citadel ring. Should you find yourself in the Two Rivers, Charleston, do make time to go by the Citadel to see this very moving display. I’ve also included a copy of the dedication program.

 

I teased you before with MoL. You all know the timing, and that hasn’t changed. But as I listened in on the exchange between Harriet, Maria (a walking dictionary of the books), Alan and Brandon, I couldn’t help but get even more excited. You all know that Jim told me in great detail, the bones of the book and very vividly described the last scene. Still, listening to the team working collectively on the minute details, hearing the excitement in their voices, feeling the electricity in the room made me want to stay till we were done. I lingered for a moment before leaving watching them sitting around the dining room table where we had shared so many meals, stories and good times. As with most families, our family members have assumed places at the table where we normally sit. I smiled when it struck me that sitting in Jim’s place was the man tapped to finish Jim’s work, Brandon. I’m sure Jim was smiling too. Onward!

 

Wilson

Brother/Cousin

4th of 3

 

[Editor note: We also received some additional words and photos from Alan Romanczuk, one of Jim's assistants. Here's what he writes]

 

Jim's memorial case was put on permanent display in the Citadel library on the 8th of this month. It's a beautiful piece of work, and is probably worth more than some of the houses in the neighborhood. On display are a variety of artifacts representing different periods of Jim's life, and include photographs, articles of clothing and accessories, weapons, everything one would expect to give insight into the personality and experiences of this complex and fascinating individual.

 

Jim's Harriet convened a panel to discuss his life and literary works before an audience that filled one large section of the library. The panel was comprised of [i'm doing this in order of position, from the left, in the photo shown above] David Drake, famous author of fantasy and military science fiction, and friend/admirer of Jim and Harriet's for many years; Brandon Sanderson, talented young fantasy writer who was selected to finish the last volume in the Wheel of Time series; Michael Livingston, Assistant Professor of English at the Citadel, specialist in medieval studies and author in his own right, who is dedicated to ensuring that Robert Jordan's work be recognized by scholars to be among the masterpieces of world mythology; and, standing, Harriet. The discussion lasted about a hour, and included questions and comments from the audience. All in all, it was a stimulating evening, a fitting tribute to Jim, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It also gave Brandon the opportunity to say for the first time, "Read and Find Out."

 

Guest Wilson

Authors Hall of Fame

On 8 March 2008, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was inducted as the 47th member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) Hall of Fame. The setting was perfect, The Citadel, The Military College of S.C. The man most of you only knew by his nom de plume, Robert Jordan was a graduate of the Citadel and adored his alma mater. Jim would have loved the attention and been embarrassed by it. You see, he wrote not for acclaim. He wrote because that's what he loved to do. But every one of us likes a pat on the back and a "well done" from time to time. This ceremony was exactly that, a public affirmation of what we fans of Robert Jordan already know. Jim, aka Robert Jordan, has taken the world of fantasy to a level that was only a dream before. The long narrative is possible because of Jim. A writer in his genre was quoted recently for having said that we owe the likes of Harry Potter to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Jim did not live to hear that line, he did however know that the SC Authors had named him to the Hall. He was informed of it at the beginning of September 2007. Jim's response, "I'll be there", for the ceremony. He lost his fight only two weeks later, but he left knowing that he'd had that pat on the back from his peers. For that, I am eternally grateful. Well done, bubba.

 

The evening was a celebration of Jim the man and RJ the writer. Mike Livingston, a Professor of English at the Citadel was asked to speak about Robert Jordan. He began with the first three lines from Beowulf. He detailed how fantasy has always been an important art, inspiring us all to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, to aspire for greatness and not settle for mediocrity. He wove a brilliant tapestry of fantasy through the ages landing upon our own Jim. R.J.'s impact on the genre will be felt for as long as man pens fantasy.

 

Marjory Wentworth, the Poet Laureate of South Carolina, was asked to speak of the man, Jim Rigney. She told of his mentoring of promising students. She recalled how he had seemed even more excited than she when she was named Poet Laureate. She talked at length of his generosity of education and his community. She remembered fondly his story telling, his singing and his most thunderous laughter. Marjory counted herself blessed for having had Jim as a friend.

 

The official words inducting Jim into the Hall were pronounced by D. Oliver Bowman, Chair of the 2008 SCAA Induction Committee. Our Harriet was radiant, a smile ever present. She worked her way through the crowd of over 150 making sure that she spoke with everyone. A special treat for her and all of us gathered were the "1st Graders", a group of 14 ladies with whom Harriet had begun school, that's right, in the 1st grade. There were 8 of them in attendance. They gather at least monthly to chat over lunch or tea. By way of acknowledging them, Harriet gave a Robert Jordanish, "Hoot Hoot", which brought laughter and an encore call. So, she did it again.

 

Linda Ferguson and Ellen Hyatt, SCAA board members, presented Harriet with a Memorial Gift, a clock. All felt it most appropriate for the Creator of the Wheel of Time.

 

The mood of the evening was light. Still as people talked of my Brother/Cousin, I was transported back to that horrible time in September. Perhaps the wound is like that in Rand's side, it may never heal. I do hope that it does, for I am sure that Jim would rather I remember the laughter, not the pain. That goes for all of us really. This night in Charleston, the Two Rivers made terra firma, the people gathered under the large oaks of Stedding Citadel, to sing the songs of praise to one of our own, James Oliver Rigney, Jr., who though passed will live in our hearts forever.

 

Wilson...

Brother/Cousin of the warrior god...

4th of 3

 

Pictures from the Event (click to enlarge)

 

Harriet and Catherine at home

 

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Video from the event