That book is The Soulforge by Margaret Weis.
I've been pondering My relationship with the book for a solid week now. Even as I'm typing this, it's a struggle to find the right words. I'm just going to wing it, and hopefully some of the magic will spill out onto the Internet and say what I can't quite manage to say.
First and foremost, a disclaimer: I am an unabashed Dragonlance fangrrl who has been fascinated with Raistlin Majere for a very, very long time. This is largely because it's like looking in a mirror. I won't get into the many parallels of our lives -- Early childhood experiences, age and date parallels -- but it's shaken Me up a couple of times. More than once, reading about Raistlin has been like reading a slightly twisted autobiography.
Having read the standard Dragonlance canon (Chronicles and Legends), plus the Lost Chronicles, Dragons of Summer Flame, War of Souls, and various Weis/Hickman short stories featuring the Majere twins, I think what makes The Soulforge special is its quotations:
I will do this. Nothing in my life matters except this. No moment of my life exists except this moment. I am born in this moment, and if I fail, I will die in this moment.When I read the above words, something in My own life changed forever. If nothing else, I found a straight and unambiguous path leading to mindfulness, and a desire to live with intent, intensity and commitment. I'm not quite there, but I continue to work on it.
If we stop living because we fear death, then we have already died.This was a wake-up call: Better to take even one trembling step forward than to let the fear entomb one's dreams.
If I am to be judged by those who come after me, let me be judged by the truth.Trying to get someone to not judge you is like trying to hold back the wind with a sieve. All you can do, really, is stand by what you are and what you do, rather than hiding behind a mask. To paraphrase the "If we stop living..." quote above, if you can't show your true self to the world, your life is stillborn and your body has been hijacked by an imposter.
There are many great lines in the book, but these are My favourites. They send a shiver down My spine: There's a cold pragmatism in them, the taking of an irreversible step into unknown territory, but at the same time there's the joy of coming one step closer to yourself.
It's been 17 years, and I'm still working through the story. It's time to sit down in a quiet corner and read it again.