Friday, March 27, 2015

Absurdity defined by our labors

I am by no means anything but a single voice.  My experiences, my gathered knowledge, my wisdom, are born from study and life.  I do not presume to know anything more than any else.  However, sometimes giving voice to truths and giving those truths a platform to be heard is important.  I have failed in my life many, many times.  There is very little I've done right, and my lack of success, lack of health, lack of a variety of things that many people attribute to a life well lived, reflects not upon my victories, but upon my attempts to rise again after falling.  And I believe that is a very important aspect of life, perseverance.  Without this quality we'd never succeed in any fashion.

"The fight itself towards the summits suffices to fill a heart of man; it is necessary to imagine Sisyphus happy."  Albert Camus

So our labors, our days of work and toil do not free us from the absurdities of life.  But in various ways they give us a way to create a path through the absurd towards meaning.  By doing what we believe is our destiny, what we were born to do, with ethics and morals, we create our own path, and in an insane world create pockets of sanity.  No matter what other people do, by our doing what we do, we can create a path towards a goal.

Some might argue that you must have the end in mind while you create your path.  I disagree.  Atheists and theists alike can find truth that motivate them in their way.  Morality is not an entirely universal thing, although I believe there is a core of morality that is universal.  How we pursue our path does affect others, does make the world respond, because what we do creates order from chaos.

The German people, from the middle 1800s adopted a phrase that measured the German work ethic, one that my mother who was 100% German exemplified.  Arbeit Macht Frei.  By Labor you will become Free.  Unfortunately that phrase was co-opted by the Nazis in Germany's dark era, but the truth of it is such that I think it is worth mentioning.  My mother was truly liberated by her labors.  She found purpose in life by accomplishing things, important things, small things, rightly or wrongly. 

To find a place to lay with another, under the sun, after a day's labor is good.  To find another to live with in life and share our success and sorrows, this is good.  Labor alone is toil.  But finding what we are helps us escape the absurdity of the world around us.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dystopia in the Future

I read a number of books during my recent attempts to build and restore my memory.  New words and ideas were good for my brain to digest and consider, and might have helped, but helped or not, they were all quite good.

The Future according to the past is an interesting way to consider the world.   Few people would suggest that a writer or futurist was evil to have written about a future that never arrived, after all, it is fiction.  But, to what extent are we able to look at these works by authors of the past as windows to the beliefs of the past, extrapolated to a future world, if in fact, by use of fiction.  Some of the books are clearly more didactic than others, trying to teach the world not to turn towards some philosophy or belief system, whereas others prefer to show the results of that very turn vis-a-vis the life of the fictional characters.

Not all of the books are written in the same fashion regarding the future either, some take a look at a dystopia but present it as a Utopia gone mad, whereas others present the world as having gone straight to the dystopia. 1984 by George Orwell, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Anthem by Ayn Rand have been studied inside and out.  I don't place each of the books shown here upon an even footing, for example, Anthem is a political work that doesn't compare to 1984 or A Brave New World, but it has been considered more than most of the rest of the books presented here.

What is most interesting about the selections offered, is not that people would write about the future world, or that they'd project their fears and thoughts onto a future world, but how accurate they were
in a general sense.  Some foresaw the growth of the invasion of the privacy of civilians as seen in 1984, or the attempts to push the society into conformity, as found in Animal Farm.  The use of drugs to mediate and reduce freedom was seen in works like Brave New World, to achieve ultra conformity, and reduce individuality humans are encouraged to work endlessly with the aid of drugs, and to deal with any creative ideas or individualistic urges with psychotropic meds.

Ultimately no author gets anything perfect, and some are rather off but, each of these books rewarded my time reading.  With the natural instinct of people to be drawn to spectacle in fiction but desire their reality to be closer to utopia, dystopias have a place in science fiction, fantasy as the basis for consideration.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene's Glory

Edmund Spenser wrote his work in homage, and epic form allegory for the woman who held ultimate power over one of the few powerful countries in his world of the late 1500s.  His desire was to present both to that woman and to the world her great worthiness of the crown she wore.

He presented Queen Elizabeth I of England as the Queen of Faeriedom, all powerfully magical, with six great virtues.  They were: Holiness, Temperance, Chastity, Friendship, Justice, and Courtesy.  He included more, using the equally great and powerful King Arthur (called Prince Arthur, Knight of Magnificence) to display a number of private virtues.  This was meant to show how great Elizabeth was, in times of religious and political trials.  She had taken over after her half sister Mary had fully pushed Catholicism as the state religion, and now she returned England to that religion favored by her father, King Henry the VIII.  Politically Elizabeth I was somewhat isolated, being unmarried and without an immediate heir, her goals were thought by outsiders to be divided between finding a spouse so that she might procure an heir, and matters of state.  But as Spenser points out, her goals were unlike those of anyone else in power.  It was her England that was her husband, and she was perfect, serene and able.

The Allegory upon many fronts is clearly seen, and Spenser was trying to please Elizabeth.  He received a royal patronage as a result, and he nearly was able to finish the enormous work prior to his passing.

I absolutely love the book the Faerie Queene.  But anyone interested in reading the Faerie Queene will find the language to be archaic and somewhat difficult.  The language was not yet fully formalized in spelling or use.  And much like how chat and texting languages have changed words and uses of English in the present, the writers of the past were also able to use words creatively with spellings that were meant to achieve a close proximity of accuracy, rather than precision of a dictionary use.  But, it is good.

"No daintie flowre or herbe that growes on grownd,
No arborett with painted blossoms drest
And smelling sweete, but there it might be fownd
To bud out faire, and throwe her sweete smels al arownd."    Edmund Spenser The Faerie Queene Canto 6 Stanza 12

"The Faerie Queene is the most extended and extensive meditation on sex in the history of poetry. It charts the entire erotic spectrum, a great chain of being rising from matter to spirit, from the coarsest lust to chastity and romantic idealism. The poem’s themes of sex and politics are parallel: the psyche, like society, must be disciplined by good government.  Spenser agrees with the classical and Christian philosophers on the primacy of reason over animal appetites. He looks forward to the Romantic poets, however, in the way that he shows the sex impulse as ultimately daemonic and barbaric, breeding witches and sorcerers of evil allure. Like the Odyssey, The Faerie Queene is a heroic epic in which the masculine must evade female traps or delays."

Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why Catastrophic Memories? Soldiering Forward

“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” OVID
A poet writes from his soul, therefore, he draws upon memories, ideas, knowledge and experience.

He uses his emotional IQ to pour fire into his work.  So, since I have PTSD, I can write about feelings of terror, loneliness, pain, fear without lying or exaggeration.  Since I've been broken hearted in love, I can speak to the sorrow and grieving in my soul of being rejected, and forgotten, being ignored, or being wounded.  Some people call poets people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder for the pleasure of others.  I disagree, but, I can see how speaking from our soul to reflect our pain, our joy, our ideas, our desire can seem as if all we care about is our own life.  I can assure you that I care about far more than my own life.

In fact, the catastrophe in many ways of my life, is that no matter how much I realize I cannot change certain events, I feel sorrow and grieve for the truth of their continued existence and devastating impact.  I grow dark moods and feel paralyzed by them.  For me life has a cost, and life itself has harrowed my soul.

Therefore, when asked about the title of this blog, it is meant to reflect the fact that poets draw from a well of hurt, to share wisdom with others, so that people in the future, and present can know the truth, and grow from it.  Truth shared means, we do not need to be burned by the same fire that burned one to know that it will kill all.

Strangely now, after having written all that, I am not depressed, intellectually.  I am struggling in life with a number of issues, including a new brain disorder that is quite difficult to deal with, but, I believe in the joy of the labor in the service of my King, and that the labor itself is good.  I also believe that my labor will help bring a harvest of and reward of good for the kingdom.  When you plant seeds of righteousness, good things result.  I intend that as my path.  I am no saint, I am not anything like perfect, nearly perfect, great, good, or OK.  I am a mess.  But I will soldier on.  I have to, it is all I can do.

Thanks if you read this far.  People reading my work is my reward.

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!”

Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Brilliance of Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

   Guido invites you thus

   "Lappo I leave behind and Dante too,
   Lo, I would sail the seas with thee alone!
   Talk me no love talk, no bought-cheap fiddl'ry,
   Mine is the ship and thine the merchandise,
   All the blind earth knows not th' emprise
   Whereto thou calledst and whereto I call.

   Lo, I have seen thee bound about with dreams,
   Lo, I have known thy heart and its desire;
   Life, all of it, my sea, and all men's streams
   Are fused in it as flames of an altar fire!

   Lo, thou hast voyaged not! The ship is mine." ""

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Atlantis, the Peak of Achievement, Lost to the ages

When people are convinced by their own hubris, by the arguments of greatness and realization of that they have reached a peak of magnificence, they've risen above the status and place of Gods and for having learned more than any other people or state, they are said to be setting themselves up for disaster.  The ancient lost society of Atlantis is said to have experienced this.

We've passed the point of caring about anything that happened in the past.  It doesn't matter at all to most people who live their lives without reading about anything that doesn't directly affect them.  It doesn't matter to people who watch only movies that are fiction, and thereby meant to entertain, not to stimulate the brain.  It doesn't matter to people who never read, never think, never wonder.  The world is a small place to the dull of thought.  The world is equally small to those who have great minds but never introduce new facts to that mind.  The difference between ignorance, apathy and imbecilic is found in the natural abilities the thinker is born with, but none of the three matter for this discussion.  

So why does it matter?  Why would anyone be moved by the idea that a society had grown in all aspects of modern, education, military, commerce, only to see it fall in a single day, from a natural disaster?  They are different than any thing modern society could experience, and we've surpassed every aspect of modernity that they held up as achievement.  The achievements of humankind, as a whole has created life in test tubes, has multiplied the creative power of food in the green revolution, has defeated various diseases, and has built forms of world wide connectivity that any person from previous era could not understand or perceive.  Science has allowed human to reach peaks of perfection, and there is no earthquake or tidal wave to destroy society.

Then again, we've strip mined the oceans of life.  We've polluted nearly ever aquifer and ground water reservoir.  We've polluted the air so that the coat of birds have a film upon them that reduces their immunity to disease and makes them much less insulated against cold.  We've fought wars to an endless degree and refused to make amends.  Technology has risen, but the morality of humanity remains at the low level of primal life.  Consume, use and find more.  Repeat.

There will be no one example of Atlantis.  There will be a planetwide example of it.

Monday, March 9, 2015

When the Cherry blossom blooms

"There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various timing considerations. From the outset you must know the applicable timing and the inapplicable timing, and from among the large and small things and the fast and slow timings find the relevant timing, first seeing the distance timing and the background timing. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to know the background timing, otherwise your strategy will become uncertain."  

Miyamoto Musashi

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Invictus by William Ernest Henley 1888

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Whatever you choose to do in your existence, you will be surrounded by people who disagree.  You may or may not have the strength physically, or mentally to resist, but there are moments, when that is all you can do, and that is your life's moment.

Never surrender.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Secret War with Social Media

"I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end." Kahlil Gibran

In the underground world in which I live, I rarely see the sun.  I barely keep warm but use a space heater, and due to social anxiety, I fear dealing with others, even when it is dealing with people I know, or doing things I've done many times before.

I've been told that I am shy. Yes I am.  I have a personality that is deeply introverted.  I draw strength from solitude.  My circle of close, intimate, friends is very small.  On the Myers Briggs personality test which considers the way in which you think, feel, deal with others, and experience life, I am considered an INFJ.  Here is a link to the test.

I have not meant my life to be played in front of others, and yet it is. When social media became available I didn't know what to do with it. And then I realized that was how other people related to one another.  So I went forth, and put on my jester's hat, my bell toed shoes, and made a fool of myself.  I am not saying some of it wasn't fun, but almost none of that was me.  So now I stare out over the last 10 years of my life on the web.  I haven't made any money due to my hijinks and commentary.  My books don't sell. I have made friends, but many are friends with someone they will never meet in person.  And some people, perhaps not many, are just sticking around to see their friendly neighborhood fool crash and burn.

Make no mistake though, no one forced me to be online, and my presence is my own choice.  So no blame is intended, nor is any given. 

“One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all.” Sun Tzu

In order to build a readership on social media you need to have many friends and commit to writing comments, and then replying to comments you receive.  It is a game really, you give a comment, you get a comment.  If I did that I might get more readers, I might get people to buy more of my work, but I'd have to live with my being a slut.  And I can't do that.  No one else is a slut, I am not referring to anyone but myself.  If I did that it would be solely to get something from other people, a transaction if you will in exchange for a comment, or cash for a book.  What other people do, and why other people do what they do, is not my worry or concern.  I honestly don't care what other people do, short of causing pain to others or illegal things that harm others. While I am a Christian and have a set standard of beliefs and ethics that I follow, I also believe that people have to live with their own choices and behavior.  So I am not only not judging others, I am not saying anything is wrong here, for anyone but me.

“to be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its’ best, night and day, to make you just like everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”  E.E. Cummings

I am on Twitter, and it is ok, there are many people I will never meet or want to meet.  Many people simply exist there to promote their work, and really, while it is true poets might buy poetry, I think it is rather amusing when poets follow other poets thinking that it might result in sales.  I have no money.  If you follow me there, Hi.  If you want me to buy your work, well it looks nice I am sure...

I was on Myspace and found some great friends there, but the anonymous posting and online chatting or so called meeting of people was all rather naughty for me.  I could post a great deal of things, and outside of the occasional troll who I'd block or report, Myspace was a lot of fun, and, if I were someone else, I could see being in deep trouble years later from the mess I'd have made there.  Fortunately, it was just a moment in my life, and then the website became impossible to use due to crashes, and changes that made things nearly impossible to use.

Facebook is the home base now for social media.  And I don't much like it.  I think it is run with rather draconian rules, by unimaginative people, for the lowest common denominator.  But I am there, my friends are there, so I am going to remain.

The point of this isn't to say there is actually a war going on.  But at times I feel as if I am going mad from the demands from certain people, demands to conform by social media, the lack of success because I don't fit into any category that people would like, the lack of marketable tools, the lack of interests in developing marketable tools, and lastly, the desire not to fit in but to be something that I am not, be rewarded for it, and then be happy.  As you can see, my trying to succeed in this social media world is hard but even living in the "normal" world for me isn't the easiest thing.  There are people who might point to my many flaws as the reason for failure.  Ok good, gotcha.  Some people might argue that I am unpleasant or untalented.  Fine by me.  But the reality is, I just don't fit, for whatever reasons, and social media demonstrates that, in public, and everyone can see it, including me.

I am tired, and worn nearly through, but I will keep fighting.  I really have no other choice.  Until such time as you see me lifting the white flag of surrender, I am in this fight to win.

“In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?” John Steinbeck

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thank you

“What is a rebel? A man who says no” 
Albert Camus

I survived cancer, injuries to my back, tailbone and hips, the loss of my mother to Alzheimer’s, and much more, in a span of 3 years.  I had various projects succeed, but many more collapse, for whatever reason.  In the midst of the sorrow and pain, I was lost.  I prayed, I was honorable, I lived by my word, I said what I meant, and lived by what I said.  Having cancer simply showed me how some people abandon ship, and others help without measure of their own cost.  I went through a great deal during cancer treatment, including nearly dying of a staph infection.  And in August of 2014 a person I loved committed suicide.  She was someone who I felt was my soul twin in many respects.

But aside from all that, I survived, quite surprising me.  And then I had to deal with the fact that I was alive, and had been saved for some destiny.  Yes, I believe in that.  In a different form than prior to cancer, to be sure, but I was alive.  I had some issues that had to be addressed regarding PTSD from the surgeries and treatments and the staph infection.  I had memory loss from an all encompassing anxiety that soon covered my life, and made me withdraw into a private shell that few were allowed to enter.  The world outside my office and bedroom became very scary places.  The new meds I went on helped, but, I am still in pain from many things.  I had friends abandon me during my deepest pain and times of sorrow.  That is ok.  They can do that.  I know who love me, and I love them as well.

But the point, yes I have one, is that during my cancer I was able to survive.  And one avenue of strength came from family, some from friends, some from strangers.  My faith in God helped, and I read a lot of Albert Camus, and it strengthened my resolve, since I believe his words were truth, regardless of context, era of writing, or personal application of the words.  They worked for me.

Despite being amazed by the world, both in good ways and otherwise, I survived.  The world might well have issues, but I am able to say, most people are good, and my heart is thankful to those who helped me survive.

"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. There can be no true goodness, nor true love, without the utmost clear-sightedness."  Albert Camus

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Briar Wood

 The Briar Wood by Edward Burne-Jones

"The fateful slumber floats and flows
About the tangle of the rose;
But lo! the fated hand and heart
To rend the slumberous curse apart!"

Edward Burne-Jones did not just paint a scene.  He told stories with a single painting.  His works came from a style that was made more popular during the Pre-Raphaelite era, but as he himself pointed out, it came to him later in life, as he was first a critic of art, and then took up the brush. The men of battle were exhausted from their day, and lay down, in a gentle place.  They woke with the night watch guards call, but could not move, as the Briar wood had taken hold of their shields and weapons of war, and they found their arms and legs firmly held as well.

One artist telling a story, from myth/legend, or event, could tell a story similarly, he was not unusual in that, but his drawing from the roots of Pre-Raphaelites, he choose epic stories and myths to be the backdrop or reason for his work.  

I am just one of many who love his work, but I do very much.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Heroes who use swords, aren't all noble, aren't all bestial, aren't all savage...

With varying degrees of joy I have been reading a lot of books featuring heroes in fantasy settings.  The authors are all quite a bit better than me in writing, I fully acknowledge, and the reason I am reading them has been to gain skill writing.  The fact that I forced myself to start some books with authors I really didn't like wasn't to punish myself, but rather, I wanted to see works that succeeded for what they were, rather than how they made me feel.  What my tastes were prior to beginning this project have not changed, I still like who I liked beforehand, and I still do not care for the writers who I previously avoided.  But, I can see that some writers made an effort to use flawed characters give them an angle to write from, and a hitch to secure their boat upon.

The books were the first 8 books from the White Wolf reprints of the Michael Moorcock Eternal Champion series.  The Death Dealer series written by James R. Silke about the character created by Frank Frazetta and had spawned numerous previous and post publication versions of the character and its origins. Karl Edward Wagner wrote the series of books featuring the character Kane, and these works are exceedingly expensive so these books were part of a lend lease agreement.  The hardcover collections of Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, which featured some overlap from the Eternal Champion series, but I did not force myself to reread those that had been read already.  And the ever predictable choice of mine, CONAN by Robert E. Howard, in hardcover, from the Glenn Lord Berkeley series from the late 1970s.

Each character is different, a warrior, a thinker, a rogue, a spell caster, or some measure of the previous skills or roles, mixed together.  But the writers succeed in what they do by escaping cliché or exceeding it.  Michael Moorcock it is said began his works in epic fantasy to write the anti Conan the Barbarian.  Elric, an emaciated albino, dependent upon a tool, his sword, for his strength, is the king, even emperor of a people who are dying.  Conan was a brawny, ever youthful and valorous, scornful of magic, and his final life role was to acquire to throne of the lands.  Robert E. Howard wrote Conan and his other characters, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and more, very much to fit the established image of the rough journey ending in power over others.  Moorcock did the reverse.  And that is quite an amazing feat.

Elric was written as just one of a number of characters known as the eternal champion.  There was one at any give time, in the time and continuity stream. They were special, powerful, and able, and might have memories of their time in previous incarnations.  They spent their lives balancing the ever out of balance force between law and chaos.   Dorian Hawkmoon, Corum of the Silver Hand, and many more of memorable stories were flawed, cut from a far different cloth than the typical hero of epic fantasy, and memorable for that sense you feel of, what the hell happened.  Moorcock was playing with us, the readers, because keep expecting him to finally fulfill our desire to complete the journey, and he refuses.

Meanwhile Karl Edward Wagner refused to take sides.  His character Kane was equal parts flawed warrior/spell caster, and magnificent fighter, brilliant thinker.  This might make for an invulnerable character, but, he did have a weakness.  His soul, his inner self, was in turmoil, and faced a world that was equally dark.  Kane is a joy to read, because if you read the character Superman you eventually realize, he can't truly be beaten, he can only be slowed down, or distracted.  Kane is powerful, and hard to defeat, except when he is the one who defeats himself.

Death Dealer has been written in many fashions, and we, as the reader, are allowed, so far to sift through the versions of the character and try to pick up what is the real story.  James Silke does allow a single cohesive story and if you let the story flow, it is brutal, painful and perhaps without good guys and bad guys in the typical templates/roles, but it is exciting, and fulfilling to read about a character who is so powerful that his enemies fear him, and his allies have no idea what he might do.

Elric of Melniboné is the last emperor king of the elder kingdoms.  The human race, or the young kingdoms are encroaching upon the elder kingdoms, and they are hungry, powerful, and energetic.  Like his kingdom, Elric is emaciated, thin, exhausted, an albino with a torturous path to relief.  He loves a woman named Cymoril, has an evil cousin who seeks the throne, Cymoril, and to kill Elric, and all that stands between life and death for Elric, is a runesword, that sucks the soul of the enemy being fought, an alliance with a god of Chaos (Arioch), and Elric's own brilliant, if twisted, mind.  Michael Moorcock does not write an easy to love character, but the depth of his anti-hero is beyond that of most any other.  Do I like Elric?  I don't actually know.  I read him though.

Lastly, let us look upon before us, Conan of Cimmeria. He is a powerful, quick witted, agile, barbarian's blood.  Conan distrusts all sorcery, all sorcerers, and he would just as soon kill a user of magic as allow one to help him.  Conan is a loyal friend and ally, but he is loathe to be in the least way betrayed, or perceived to have been.  He loves battle, he loves women, and he prefers to use his sword to settle arguments.  He is the perfect warrior, and his stories are fruit from the seed of both great writing, and a great use of the world he "lived" in.  Robert E. Howard has and had detractors from his works, but for my money, he was brilliant, and deserving of far greater praise.

"Doomed Lord's Passing. For the mind of man alone is free to explore the lofty vastness of the cosmic infinite, to transcend ordinary consciousness, to roam the secret corridors of the brain where past and future melt into one...And universe and individual are linked, the one mirrored in the other, and each contains the other."

Michael Moorcock

"He stripped each body and made a blanket from their leather tunics. He heaped their armor and weapons along with his broken axe and helmet on the blanket, tied them in a bundle. He drank from the stream in animal fashion, and washed most of the dry blood and gore off his body. Then he picked up the bundle, heaved it to his back, and started down a narrow trail beside the stream." 

James R. Silke

“Men told that Kane was a giant in stature, more powerful than ten strong men. In battle no man could stand before him, for he fought with a sword in either hand - wielding easily weapons that another warrior could scarcely lift. His hair was red as blood, and he feasted on the still-beating hearts of his enemies. His eyes were the eyes of Death himself, and they cast a blue flame that could shrivel the souls of his victims. His only delight was in rapine and slaughter, and after each victory his banquet halls echoed with the tortured screams of captive maidens.”  

Karl Edward Wagner

“Elric knew that everything that existed had its opposite. In danger he might find peace. And yet, of course, in peace there was danger. Being an imperfect creature in an imperfect world he would always know paradox. And that was why in paradox there was always a kind of truth. That was why philosophers and soothsayers flourished. In a perfect world there would be no place for them. In an imperfect world the mysteries were always without solution and that was why there was always a great choice of solutions.”   

Michael Moorcock

"The Lion banner sways and falls in the horror-haunted gloom;
A scarlet Dragon rustles by, borne on winds of doom.
In heaps the shining horsemen lie, where the thrusting lances break,
And deep in the haunted mountains, the lost, black gods awake.
Dead hands grope in the shadows, the stars turn pale with fright,
For this is the Dragon's Hour, the triumph of Fear and Night."

Robert E. Howard