I've been stalling on writing this for a few hours now, because I'm not sure I'll be able to do it justice. Therefore, I think I'll keep it simple and short.
When I was about eight years old, a friend in elementary school introduced me to the Redwall books. I'm not going to pretend to remember the details; it was probably Mossflower, but it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that these books have given me some of my best memories - getting in trouble in class for reading under my desk, staying up way past my bedtime with a flashlight under the blankets, zipping through new releases in a day, borrowing people's copies and lending out my own, making makeshift cloaks and going out into fields with friends to pretend we were on quests (duck and weave, guys, duck and weave!), trying to recreate some of the Abbey recipes in the kitchen, memorizing the poetry and setting some of the songs and riddles to my own melodies - the list goes on.
Brian Jacques passed away on February 5th, and while I regret never meeting him, it's okay. I think it's very possible that anyone who's read a Redwall book knew him, just a little, through his stories.
These books, with their roving, fighting heroes, dangerous quests, and treacherous villains have left an indelible mark on my life. They've shaped the way I read and write, and the way I experience stories. Brian Jacques left behind an unbelievable legacy, and if I ever have children, I'll be proud to share these adventures with them.
Rest in peace, Mr. Jacques. You will be missed.
P.S. For a much more elegantly worded tribute, check out Jason Pinter's piece in the Huffingtom Post. It made me cry.
Friday, February 11, 2011
In Tribute to Brian Jacques
I am but an orchard shadow in the sunny
tide of noon,
The dust of olden seasons on a stone.
My paw is light and silent as a waning
I walk the halls of memory, alone.
- Brian Jacques, Salamandastron