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March 29th, 2007

There are times in your life when something that never made any sense all of a sudden takes on the sharpest of meaning. An epiphany - a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization (www.thefreedictionary.com) I've had a few of these over the years -- some have been more poignant than others. (like the one I had on writing itself!) My most recent moment of startling realization came about several weeks ago while I was traveling to Virginia Beach, VA to attend Epicon.

While the plane was coming in for a landing at the airport, I saw something out the window which really got me thinking. What I saw, as we came toward the coast, was the horizon. And the more I looked at it, the more it gave the impression that it came to an end and just dropped off to nowhere, like seeing a waterfall from upriver.

(hm, I seem to be on a vision kick these last two posts...could it be a trend? Naw.) :P

Seeing such a view, I suddenly understood where all the old tales of a Flat World and the edges you would fall off from might have come from. Eyes and light can play all sorts of tricks on the beholder, giving the viewer visions of things they are left alone to interpret. So I could very well see how such a view off of a coast as I had seen in the East (and then remembered seeing something similar in the West) could have given seafarers the wrong impression of how things actually were.

To us modern folk visions like these mean nothing. We know better. But what of those who didn't know anything else, who only had their eyes with which to attempt to reason what they saw? Can you imagine the courage it would have taken for someone believing strictly in their senses to have sailed toward this seeming precipice to see just how far they could go before the end? It boggles the mind.

Going to California last year, I ran across two other illusions. The first was on the way to San Diego on the plane. Out the window, where the mountains were covered with clouds, they seemed to fade/be eaten out of existence. As if the land itself were being sucked into some unfathomable void. The second was from the ground, staring out toward the ocean. The clouds rose from the water up high to the sky, a giant wall stretching upwards and left to right all the way around. It made the world look as if it were contained in a giant bowl.

Without science, without the basic education and beliefs we're given as children, what would such sights inspire within us? Amazement, wonder, fear? Of such things tales would be made. Traditions and knowledge imparted to help those who see it cope with the unknown. Setting of boundaries to give a tenuous sense of control or understanding of the world around us. (Yeah, I think about weird stuff. What can I say?) :P

Have any visual illusions you want to share? Epiphanies of your own?

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Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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