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Personal/Random/Theological Notebook: Brian; Jordan's Passing; Sexuality in the Age of Advertising

Odds and ends. I had a good long talk with Brian Symons today, one of my best friends from growing up in Oregon, Illinois. We hadn't spoken in a couple of years, since I'd last visited him in town, but I'd been trying to get a hold of him to confirm that he would be attending an upcoming high school reunion. We have one of those situations where we look at one another's lives and see the "other road." He perks up when I speak of traveling and exotic or esoteric things I'm involved in. I deeply envy him his family, his two children already in their early teens, and the knowledge of what a fabulous father he is: he was born for that kind of success. He wanted to grow up and settle down, to live deeply in the community that nurtured us. I wanted to know all the stories, whether history or myth, and find places where I could get involved in the kinds of conversations that seem to me to get at the root of the meanings of our lives, and that have the ultimate hand on the rudder of world history. Different directions, both good. So we had some of that back-and-forth with our news and doings, a preview of good talk to come, as it seems everyone in our core group will be gathering for this event, except the stubborn 2ndtimothy, who is still busy with his doings up in the Boundary Waters, and writing his weekly column (even if he's not copying it into LiveJournal consistently anymore. Hint hint).

Robert Jordan's funeral is tomorrow, the official notice being:
Robert Jordan's funeral will be held on Wednesday, September 19th, at 11:00 AM at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 67 Anson St., Charleston, SC. The funeral is open to friends and family, and there will be a private burial later in the day.
Below this cut is an AP notice on his death, and a much better obituary written by a fan who organizes the fan site

Author Robert Jordan dies
By BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 17, 3:24 PM ET

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Author Robert Jordan, whose "Wheel of Time" series of fantasy novels sold millions of copies, died Sunday of a rare blood disease. He was 58.

Jordan, whose real name was James Oliver Rigney Jr., was born and lived in this southern city most of his life. He died at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston of complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, his personal assistant, Maria Simons, said Monday. The blood disease caused the walls of Rigney's heart to thicken.

He wrote a trilogy of historical novels set in Charleston under the pen name Reagan O'Neal in the early 1980s. Then he turned his attention to fantasy and the first volume in his Wheel of Time epic, "The Eye of the World," was published in 1990 under the name Robert Jordan.

Jordan's books tells of Rand al'Thor, who is destined to become the champion who will battle ultimate evil in a mythical land.

Book 11, "Knife of Dreams," came out in 2005; there was also a prequel, "New Spring: The Novel," in 2004. The other titles in the series include "The Great Hunt," "Lord of Chaos" and "The Path of Daggers." Jordan was working on a 12th volume at the time of his death, Simons said.

"The younger devotees of the series, who seem to be legion, have a habit of dutifully rereading the complete gospel before each addition. ... (Jordan) creates a universe simple enough to master and then challenges the characters to do the same in meticulously choreographed battles against chaos and dissolution."

In a 2004 online chat on the USA Today Web site, Jordan said he hoped to finish the main "Wheel" series in two more books. "It's not an absolute promise, but I'm very much hoping for it and I think I can do it," he wrote.

Most of the books made The New York Times list of best sellers.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2003, Jordan discussed having a best seller. The first time it happens "you go out in the middle of the floor and you do a little dance. Then you go someplace booze is being served and buy a drink for everybody in the house.

"You have to have talent to some extent — I certainly hope I have talent — but you have to have luck as well," Jordan said. "Once you get that first shot, that will get you noticed for the rest of your books and that will give the rest of your books a better chance."

He said in the interview that his Southern background came through in his work, even though it is set in a fantasy world.

"What I write is certainly not set in South Carolina, but I have had a number of reviewers comment on the fact that I write with a distinctly Southern voice," he said.

"It goes beyond more than simply where the story is set. I believe it is something we take in in the air and the water. It's a matter of word choices — of the rhythms of sentences and the rhythm of speech in particular."

A graduate of The Citadel, South Carolina's state military college, Rigney worked as a nuclear engineer at the old Charleston Naval Shipyard before taking up writing full time in 1977. He served two tours of duty with the Army in Vietnam. He was decorated several times, including winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star.

He is survived by his wife, Harriet McDougal Rigney.

Funeral arrangements had not been finalized on Monday, Simons said.

Obituary for James Rigney, Jr. from TarValon.Net
Posted by: Sela Narian on 9/17/2007 11:45:38 AM (CST)
“Life is a dream. All dreams must end.”

These are words sung by the Aiel, one of many dozens of intricate cultures found within the vivid world of the Wheel of Time, created by James Rigney, Jr. under the pen name of Robert Jordan.

After fighting the disorder amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy for over a year and a half, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. died of complications from this disorder on Sunday, September 16 at 2:45 P.M. He was one month away from his fifty-ninth birthday. He is survived by his wife, Harriet, who served as editor for his books, and his son, William.

James Rigney, Jr. was born on October 17, 1948. He decided at an early age that he wanted to write, but decided to wait until he had experienced more in life which he could bring to his fiction. Before he became a professional writer, he served two tours in Vietnam through the U.S. Army, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with Valor and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry with Palm. He attended the Citadel in South Carolina, where he earned a degree in physics. He went on to become a nuclear engineer, employed by the U.S. Navy.

The best-selling writer of twenty-five books had the distinction of spending over eighty weeks on the New York Times’ Bestsellers lists for his various releases in hardback and paperback both. His books were published in 22 countries. He was also an accomplished dance and theatre critic, contributing to Library Journal, Fantasy Review and Science Fiction Review under the name of Chang Lung. Besides Robert Jordan, he also wrote books under the pseudonyms Reagan O’Neal and Jackson O’Reilly.

He was in constant communication with his fans throughout the world, and touched millions of lives through his writing. In his series, he described the term ta’veren as one who is chosen by the Wheel of Time to bend the pattern of the web of destiny; one thread which pulls others to it and changes lives without even realizing it. Such was the life of James Rigney, Jr. Whether he met them or did not, there are thousands of stories to be found of readers who connected through his books, forged lasting relationships, improved their lives and worked to serve others through charitable acts as a result of reading the Wheel of Time series.

He will be remembered as a man of constant strength, passion and dignity, who left a lasting impact on the world of fiction and beyond. His influence will continue to touch the world long after his passing; within his books, readers old and new will discover the legends he created for many years to come. The grave is no bar to his call.

- Suzanne Musin

There was an interesting online article that friede pointed out to me, entitled I'm McLovin It: Sexuality in the Age of Advertising. It really is quite perceptive or engaging on certain levels, but seems to be challenged philosophically because it soooo buys into post-modern views of truth (whether consciously or unconsciously), to the point where the author finds himself in the hopeless pickle of admitting we all want true, real love, but he is unwilling to concede that love is anything except one of the narratives or fictions that we weave for ourselves. Like so many philosophical snarls that people find themselves caught in, this one is problematic in being a reductionism: it reduces all of reality to its one insight – that we do indeed weave very influential narratives about our situations for ourselves. Thus, the logic goes, there can be no actual, objective truth: and if there was, such overwhelming truth would be oppressive (not providing a basis for freedom), dull (not life-giving), and monolithic (not providing a unified basis for all diversities). It's frustrating to see a writer work so hard at critically assessing the problem dynamics in our culture's approach to love and sexuality, and then have no capacity for seeing through the fundamental philosophical assumptions that help create so much of the problem. Still, as I said, worth reading through.
Tags: friends-marquette era, friends-oregon era, oregon illinois, personal, random, robert jordan, secularism/modernity, sexuality, theological notebook

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