My name is Chris Kaufman. I am a composer, voice actor, artist, concert presenter… a husband and father… and the author of the epic fantasy series ‘Tales Of The Ocean City’. I think my story and stories will strike a chord with many people and I’d like to share with you how the work of J.R.R.Tolkien and ‘The Power of Fantasy’ played a huge role in transforming my life.
— (different interests may have inspired your visit to this blogpost – feel free to explore by the different headings: Tolkien, Heroines, Animal Friends) —
Long, long ago… in a land far away… my sister Alexandria and I lived, as kids, in something akin to Mordor. Or, one could say… we survived quite a series of challenging situations! Our father was violent and our mother was neglectful… we were constantly moving… I could go on, but I don’t want to focus on negative details from the past. Suffice it to say, we were often left to ourselves… in sometimes ‘less than ideal conditions’… and we got through it all chiefly through the imaginative play we engaged in.
I remember the first time our imaginations exploded into our creative worlds. It was a Thursday night… I must’ve been around 7 years old… Alex 12… and our main characters were born. They began as simple animal figures… Alex was ‘Inky’ an ocelot animal figure and I was ‘Ally’ an alligator. We played all night in the attic of our house, and on into the morning, creating wild fantastic adventures with our avatars. Later, ‘Inky and Ally’ were accompanied by many others… Characters imbued with tremendous depth, evolved back stories and who engaged in harrowing adventures! Alex was quite passionate with her story making. We sometimes played hooky from the miserable schools we attended in order to immerse ourselves in our imaginative universe. We also played music as we adventured, chiefly Tchaikovsky and Uriah Heep… especially Heep’s ‘The Wizard’… a song I still love… and which now my beautiful little daughter Sofia Rose dances to.
I’d like to acknowledge my ‘first teacher’, my other sister, Alice! She was old enough to escape much of the turmoil our family was going through, and when I saw her it was often magical. She gave me a great gift when I was ten years old… she gave me ‘The Hobbit’ to read! I remember the first magic of that book! It was all encompassing… my imagination was on fire… I later read the entire LOTR trilogy about 17 times… every summer and winter. I’d found music by then and I remember one summer where I would practice piano in the morning… read LOTR during lunch time… then play piano and study music all day… oboe in the evening… score reading at night… a summer of glorious 17 hour days… And an alternative life path was born… an alternative to the negative downward spiral I had been “trained for”… a path of my own creation and imagining… which was often challenging in itself… but my experience of imaginative play with Alex… and the examples of Frodo and Sam… led me through… still do… always will.
To the NOW:
‘The Power of Fantasy’ has won out and my greatest success is represented by my healthy home life… my beautiful wife Maryclare and our glorious daughter Sofia Rose! I write to you now a happy fellow pursuing the life of an independent artist with many branches and roots.
My concert music career continues… but now I’ve created the space to focus on Harl’ut and Vispushin… their close relationship… the epic story and music… and I have also discovered autobiographical elements in the story which I previously didn’t know were there.
This last is interesting… when I found these elements I decided to grow them a bit… let them happen and even celebrate them. For example, in the first book of TOC – Battle In The Sky, you see the Princess Bryn’lynn get injured by the enemy Vorm War Chief near to death. (Spoiler alert) Later in the series Bryn’lynn is transformed to an almost mythological super-heroine! This is just like what I experienced when young and seeing my sister Alex horribly beaten up by our father… and now she, by the terrific power of her imagination and spirit… lives a happy life with her husband John in southern Oregon, living the life she dreamed… a farm with horses and goats and other animals! So the character of Bryn’lynn is dedicated to Alex. Two other characters are also dedicated to my sisters… the Captains of the Guard… the ‘Sister Twain’… Alessia and Alaxa!
So I want to thank my sisters once again… and let you know the source of these powerful and very real female characters.
But what about the most powerful of all of my female characters…? Vispushin! Vispushin is Harl’ut’s bondmate… she is of the race ‘Perianth‘ and closely resembles a pegasus. Harl’ut and Vispushin are very close, they communicate telepathically… were ‘bonded’ at Harl’ut’s birth… and have been together constantly since Harl’ut’s parents were lost in an expedition to the southern continent years ago.
The sources and dedication for Vispushin are Pranya and Anarion… They were the creatures that accompanied me through my early life… my deepest friends from that time… creatures who were brilliant, loving and strong… and with whom I truly feel there was some type of telepathic connection at times. Pranya was a black fluffy half cocker spaniel/half poodle. She was pure genius… she would sit there and talk to you. I remember the first time this breakthrough happened… I started howling and she joined in… I have never laughed harder before or since… it went on and on… and ever since we vocalized to each other. When people were around… she would just sit there and vocalize to them… she was the smartest creature in the room.
Anarion was a sleek silver and black Polish off-breed German Shepherd… female even though I named her after Isildur’s older brother from LOTR! Another brilliant creature… very ‘Vispushin-like’… magical telepathy I can never prove or even talk about properly existed between us. She would often take me on walks… I am very nearsighted, you see, and went a long time without glasses because of the clueless people around me… and Vispushin and I (I mean Anarion!) would walk deep into strange forests, ‘beyond the fields we know’ you might say, where I had no idea of where we were… She led me. At some point I would say… “Okay let’s head home”… and she’d give me a wink and head back to the cabin. That’s the way it was. I don’t have to prove it… just write it!
Thanks for reading – see you soon… it’s easy for me… I have only to take off my glasses and I see the glaze of Kurl’wra’s golden light mixing with the greenish rays of Gresha, the afternoon sun… and I always feel the fluff of Vispushin’s wings… or is that the memory of Anarion’s kiss?
‘The Power of Fantasy’ and the works of Tolkien, Alexander and the other great fantasy writers have helped me transform my life and ‘see’ with my imagination.
Here’s wishing you the same.
‘Tales Of The Ocean City’