Tuesday, January 6, 2009

There is no fireside like your own fireside

The above is an Irish proverb which is carved into one of the ceiling beams of my favorite pub. The pub, although it exudes authentic Irishness, is actually a theme restaurant in an upscale shopping center near Cleveland, Ohio, but the adage is true none the less. There is no fireside like your own fireside.

Which is why I'm glad I insisted when we were looking for houses that we have a fireplace. Not one of those fake gas logs, or (Heaven forbid!) a portable, vent-free facade, but a genuine, wood-burning, smoke and ashes fireplace. I could stare into the flames for hours, alternately musing over the chemical mysteries of this unusual form of oxidation, and being transported in my mind to some distant fire on a lonely hillside, where travellers huddle for warmth on their journey to somewhere terrible and wonderful and dangerous and exciting.

I have a bad cold and should be resting, but so many ideas are flickering through my mind as I gaze at the flames that I had to come and sit down at the computer and write something. Most of these ideas are tied up with my current novel, The Golden Gryphon. There is a lot of fire in it: the fiery red-gold precious metal called fieriengor; the molten light that shines between the feathers of the magical gryphons; the campfires of my weary travellers as they journey in secret through many dangers; the torches in the hidden mountain fortress that burn in readiness for evil deeds; the deep, dark, molten fire like thick lava that bides patiently in the depths for its awakening; and, most important of all, the fire that burns at the heroes' own fireside, waiting for them to return, put their feet up, and be comfortable and safe once again.

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