Mark Sebanc’s story behind the story of “The Stoneholding”

I was born and raised in Toronto, at the high water mark of the baby boom, the eldest of five children. My parents were refugees from war-ravaged Europe, from the small country of Slovenia. Apparently I didn’t speak a word of English until I entered kindergarten at the tender age of five or six. I say “apparently” because I hardly remember the experience of first going to school from a unilingual home environment. It was such a seamless transition and occurred so early in my life that I all I remember is being at school and taking to the English language in a profound, visceral way, like a fish to water. I can’t recall the time when I did not love the shape and texture of words, their evocative power, on a deep level, with an inner, instinctive knowledge and appreciation. Of course, I quickly became an avid reader, although my reading was largely self-directed. The multi-coloured Andrew Lang fairy books were a key element in the nurturing of my imagination. I devoured them, as I did the Robin Hood and Arthurian legends as rendered by Howard Pyle. I found any sort of history or historical fiction dealing with pre-modern times, especially the middle ages, to be hauntingly evocative. Then, when I was a teenager, the richness and depth of The Lord of the Rings utterly transformed the landscape of my imagination. Steeped in what he called “northernness”, charged with a stirring, archetypal power, Tolkien’s world touched a deep emotional chord and caused the first stirrings of a desire to sub-create. (more…)