People need wonder so they can connect to something greater than themselves. Everyday life can be very disheartening. Many of us toil away at jobs we dislike, or at best we are indifferent towards. Certainly, a lucky few are on top of the world working their dream jobs, but for the rest of us commoners, we are where we are because our professions were thrust upon us, or because they were our only opportunities in life. When we are asked in job interviews why we have chosen our paths, we say, “I do this because I want to make a difference.” But, deep down inside many of us wonder if we really can.
Fantasy allows us to vicariously be part of making a difference. Open a book, and you can follow a hero or a heroine on an amazing journey where he or she fights evil, uncovers secrets, and upholds virtue. Their trials impart lessons about ourselves, and allow us an escape from the mundane drudgery of the real world.
Let’s face it, real life can seem very limited, and our ability to effect change in any meaningful way can also seem limited. Not so with the hero or heroine in our mind’s eye. A hero can fly on a magic carpet, or steal pixie dust from the wings of the Goddess, or dance on the fiery breath of a mighty dragon. He represents our own unbridled ambitions in life, in a world that is magical, fascinating, and always interesting. His words are well chosen, his actions brave, his opponents terrible, and his love affairs passionate. Compared to the likes of Odysseus, Frodo, or Siegfried, are we not simply ordinary mortals who need inspiration and guidance?
At its best fantasy delves into the mythic, by teaching us lessons about who we are, and who we can become. When that point is reached, we are not just vicariously watching – we are the myth.
My humble hope is that I can write what will be regarded as a true myth and that in doing so I may help others to be part of something greater than them, and to discover their own greatness within. This is why I write fantasy.
Image by Helen Stratton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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