Why I Write Fantasy: Death and Freedom

I’m not publishing the blog I wrote earlier today. Didn’t quite capture what I wanted to say. So instead I’m freehanding this one, not even a spellchecker to save me!

I started writing fantasy, as I’ve said elsewhere, to create worlds of my own to escape into, after enjoyng the sensation of entering into other universes made for me by writers of powerful imagination. It was all I wanted to do, imagine things and write them down. What could be more fun than that? If only the writing down was as easy as the imagining!

Of course I grew, learned, broadened my horizons somewhat, and wanted to do more than merely imagine, as if that were not sufficient. (It totally can be!) I wanted to say something. Preferably something important.

So I wrote a book that at heart was about death. A very intellectual death, conceptual, with ramifications and social and psychological impacts, the whole nine. Death was foreign to me at the time, so I could imagine it as I wished. I feel death in my bones now, feel it in the judder of my heart, so that early book seems charming to me in my remembrance of its conceits. I haven’t read it in years – know I wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to ‘fix’ it. So I let it be. One day.

Now, when I think about it, I write books about freedom. And power. And redemption. And love. And sacrifice. I am not in prison, or a gulag, I am not constrained by poverty, bound by pride (I had my moments, but have been profoundly humbled enough times to try to keep myself grounded, most of the time!), I do not believe I am trapped in ignorance, though I think we all labour through life being waylaid by the things we do not know, and should have learned about earlier. Still, the idea of freedom (and those others that always seem to tag along) tasks me, for now, and so I shall pursue it in my writings a while yet.

Freedom and oppression. The little guy against impossible odds. The search for redemption, even when it might be denied. The oldest and most contemporary story of them all: how everything came to be, and why everything is as it is. Those are the stories I always imagined, and I’m still just trying to write them down.

This isn’t what I was trying to say either, but what the hell. Capturing a thought with words is another windmill of mine. Another attempt can always be had. Next time with Dwarves.



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