What’s In a Name?
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
– Barack Obama
I suppose the first thing I should write about is the history behind the name Matylena. When I was in the 9th grade, my English teacher introduced our class to the Fantasy fiction genre by giving us an assignment to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” over Christmas break. We were then to write a book report about it by the time we returned to class in two weeks.
I had, of course, heard about the “The Hobbit” but I was never really into the idea of it. I thought it was just some kid story that you are interested in as a child, and then grow out of. But “The Fellowship of the Ring” is no children’s tale. It is high fantasy adventure, and I have always been grateful to this teacher, though I do not remember her name now, for introducing me to the fantasy genre. Not only did I read the entire thing, but I had already read halfway through “The Two Towers” as well. For some reason, when we got back from that Christmas break, the teacher decided we no longer needed to turn in that assignment. I finished it anyway for fun, and finished the series as well, before moving on into a whole new world of speculative fiction. My eyes were opened, and there was no going back.
This genre has gotten me through some very tough times in my life, as I battle with depression and anxiety. I would spend as many hours as I could in the local public library, checking out new fantasy novels every week. I would breeze through them in days, then go back for more. I could not get enough. Eventually, I was in a Book Stop in San Antonio, browsing the Fantasy and Sci-Fi section, when this older gentleman approached me and asked if I was looking for something new to read. He recommended Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series. It is a sprawling, epic world with a massive fan base, and while it does have its flaws in my opinion (which I may go into later on in future blog posts), it is the driving inspiration behind the name ‘Matylena’.
In 1994, I had already discovered a place called Multi-Users in Middle Earth (MUME), which is an online text-based fantasy role-playing game (RPG). As far as I know, it was really one of the first of its kind. Later, other Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs) and Multi-User Shared Hallucinations (MUSHes) became more and more prevalent. One of these games I discovered in 1997, and it was called “A Moment in Tyme“. It was based on Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series, and this is where I truly became hooked into the idea of text-based online role-playing games. These are collaborative storytelling opportunities, and while one might think they are a frivolous waste of time, I found them to be quite educational, and fulfilling. They allowed me to develop my creative writing skills, while also sharing my joy of fantasy novels with friends. Those friendships have blossomed into lasting relationships that I maintain to this day.
Matylena was a character I created on “A Moment in Tyme”. She was my very first character there. She started out as a street rat named “Matty” but as her story developed, she became a powerful and influential figure in the game, even attaining the highest rank of Amyrlin Seat at one point. If you don’t know what that is, I encourage you to read Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series, which was finished by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan’s death in September of 2007. The “Wheel of Time” will soon have its own TV series airing on Amazon Prime, and principle photography started, perhaps not so coincidentally, on the 12th anniversary of Robert Jordan’s death. More details can be found here.
This is why the name Matylena is so important to me. There is a great deal of history behind it. This character defines the core of me, and who I am. She is ambitious, strong-willed, and a character that I have developed over years. I am currently writing a book of my own, based loosely on her experiences within the game. Though of course, I am making the story my own, and creating my own world to put her in. But she is still the same core character I created all those years ago. Matylena and I have been through many trials and tribulations together, both In-Character and in real life.
This blog will be the world as seen through Matylena’s eyes. I hope it will provide a unique perspective to current events. It may have book reviews of current works of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and other speculative fiction. It may have more serious social commentary related to current events. Every post, however, will somehow tie back into Matylena’s point of view, and what she would do in a certain situation.
So, sit back and enjoy the story. I hope someone out there finds this blog as fun as I hope it will be. I expect it will have some serious talking points as well, however.
If you’re interested in the upcoming Wheel of Time TV series, I recommend checking out #WoTonPrime on Twitter.