Throughout my library lie the bleached bones of obsessions past, still waiting for the time when I will bring them to life again. The issue is, how many of these bones can I return to the masoleum of human thought & experience? And how many will I visit again, if I am granted future years of exploration?
Why did I fail to create a paracosm? Deity knows, I tried. I pull from the corner of the room a map of Iargalon. At 34"x 102", it is (almost) the largest work I have ever created. In fact, it was even bigger once....
At first, I tried to place myself into the stories that I was reading. There is still a log somewhere of all the miles I walked in Middle-Earth. As a "mary sue"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue i did not place myself with any of the main characters. I wanted to have my own adventures, and explore interesting parts of the map. So i did actually walk all of those miles arould the grounds of the chlidrens' home where I lived. But the adventures took place all in my imagination.
With Dante's Commedia, my experience was similar. I explored Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven (aided, to be sure, by the illustrations of Gustav Dore). But, again, I had my own adventure, seeing people I wanted to see...envisioning them in Dante's landscape. With each of there authors, JRRT and Dante, I performed the magick of conjuring the world through their words, and entered therein to explore. Here it can be clearly seen that I was not strong enough to pull away and create my own unique world, my paracosm.
In high school, I tried to break free from my influences. A poem called Protogenesis was created, destroyed, and re-created, as I went through phases of "enchurchment." A re-casting of the basic Bible narrative, with Tolkenian touches, this work focused on the loss of parental guidance, and the desire to find a new Eden in a cruel world. Only the apocalypse could bring in the longer-for new world.
Later, the Rand/Wissar narrative was also heavily JRRT influenced. The more detailed sucessor to this, the Iargalon World, presented kingdoms expanding to subdue indigenous peoples and set up new realms all over the world. The Iargalon map got so big because the expansion continued unabated, untill it became impossible to continue, due to the size of the map. Iargalon was basically a Biblical-type kingdom set in a map of New England, which was attached to S.France/NE Spain. Greece was attached to Italy.... From the original kingdom crusader armies set out to explore and conquer, only stopping when larger empires blocked their way.
The last narrative paracosm I attempted was Irland/Ladakha. This started as an island realm, based on Ireland being conquered by Anglo-Saxon types. They set up kingdoms, were converted to "Christianity," and were then themselves conquered by invaders. I later transported this whole realm to the area of Tibet and re-wrote it, as works supposedly surviving from the "fall" of the imagined kingdom. This book http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Country_of_Albania was a huge influence.
Finally, since the time I read about the Bronte family and their paracosm Angria/Gondal, I have wanted to try to create a world with someone else. A few years ago I tried this with a person whom I had known for a long time, who had a great imagination, and who would not be freaked out by the proposal. She wanted to do it, so I started a story and gave her a note-book. But after a month, she gave it back to me and said she could not do it. I was really crushed by this, because, at my age, I don't see any other person with the vision and acceptance of imagination coming along to make the attempt. But I had to accept this failure and move on.
Even now I am drawn in to the worlds created by others. And there are so many more of them now..in manga, anime, movies, video games, books &c My personality leads me to be drawn in to them, to conjur them in my mind, rather than to create my own world. My last hope was the shared world, a world created by two people accountable to one another, and, sadly, that moment has passed. So this is the story of my paracosm fail...I will always wish to be a JRRT or Henry Darger, but in reality I will always be stuck in the dreams of others.