On this day in 1948, one of the greatest storytellers who ever lived, Robert Jordan, was born. I felt kind of inadequate when we were asked if one of the front page bloggers wanted to write the tribute article for Robert Jordan's birthday. I finally decided I would do it after Jennifer Liang posted the link to Richard Fife's 2011 JordanCon speech. Not only did I read the speech, I also watched the entire opening ceremony of JordanCon 3. Knowing as little as I do about the people Robert Jordan had around him and the people that lead the fandom, I was pleasantly surprised that Harriet, Alan, and Maria all actively took part in the opening antics.
Regretfully, I didn't find The Wheel of Time until late 2010 or early 2011. I devoured the series, though, when I did find it. My first read, from New Spring to Towers of Midnight, took six months. My introduction to the fandom happened by stumbling across tWoTcast when I was searching for information on the next book. Through tWoTcast, I found Dragonmount back in November 2011. That is where I first started to learn about the man we know as Robert Jordan, the man who re-ignited my own desire to write. It saddened me to find out I would never get to meet the man in person, to see the kind of man who could take an idea and turn it into such a magnificent piece of work.
Although I never got to meet him, by reading his work, I felt like I got to understand the man behind the words. To me, he seemed the type that loved a good story, whether he was telling the story or just listening. I get the impression that if he were in a crowded room of noisy people, he'd only have to say, "I have a story to tell" at normal volume and he would have everyone's attention until he finished, no matter the length of the tale. From this and the short bit I learned of the people he kept closest to him, I realized something. Robert Jordan wasn't merely a writer. He was a storyteller, which is so much more. A writer writes for fame, money, or other similar reasons, but a storyteller writes because he enjoys telling the stories he has. I was guilty of wanting to be a writer when I started my own project back in high school. After entering the Wheel of Time community and seeing how other fans view Robert Jordan in comparison to other authors, I realized I was writing for all the wrong reasons. I know it may sound cliche, but I want to be like Robert Jordan. It's not so much that I want to write like him, but I want to be able to bring people all over the world together to share a common interest. Since November last year, I've talked to people from Africa, England, Israel, Norway, Canada, and so many other places, and it blows my mind that it's all because of one man. One storyteller who has told one of the most amazing stories ever written. So to you, Robert Jordan, I say thank you, and happy birthday. Whatever adventures you've found in the great beyond, I'm sure you'll have plenty of new stories to tell us when we join you.