You are, let’s say, emerging from childhood to preteen years or beyond. You are disappointed with what you see around you. Something is missing. Things seem dull…grey, ordinary. Your imagination is starving.
So you turn to fantasy, the deeper stories…filled with heroes, monsters, histories and quests. Most importantly, they inspire your imagination. The world around you changes a bit. You are discovering a powerful secret.
I believe in the power of imagination to transform lives.
Sure, as Tolkien states, fantasy can be an escape…a refuge…a path you are honor bound to take and bring others along with you.
But it is also, like Lloyd Alexander says, a way of talking about real things and people, a way of morphing challenges and monsters into, as Guillermo del Torro tells us, “…living breathing metaphors”, where your inner heroes can deal with them.
A true fantasy reader can transform everything around them; a shaft of light into a magic spell, the darkness in the corner of the room into a rich sci-fi adventure, the bully and the dullard into orcs.
You sit in a classroom. An uninspired teacher rattles on, repeating facts you already know. You, as a fantasy reader, can stare into the darkness behind them and imagine an army of alien life-forms coming to take them away. Perhaps you’ll hear dialogue and imagine the look of surprise on their face as alien creatures subsume them, or, like the riddikulus spell from Harry Potter, you can turn them into some humorous creature in your minds-eye. You can enjoy the befuddled look in their eyes when they see you regarding them with a bemused smile, or when you hide laughter after they said something completely banal.
This is only the beginning of a secret power that can transform everything around you.
You walk along the sidewalk. You see a flower emerging from a crack in the cement and you understand, your imagination sees the truth. The flower is on a quest, a quest for light and water, a true hero in a world of tar and cement which once was a forest garden. That flower remembers the garden and is trying to return to it, to its home filled with wonder and life. Now it is a parking lot.
You know the truth. You cannot be bored. Waiting in line becomes a pleasure from which you resent being interrupted.
Ultimately, imagination, as developed and nurtured in great fantasy, can help you transform your surroundings and your future in ‘real’ ways, for you can imagine something for yourself that no one around you may have any idea about. Your future becomes free.
It is your secret. Keep it close, it is precious. Share it only with true friends who may accompany you for long or short periods along your path.
Feel free to share your thoughts here, on this blog…in comments. We can share how fantasy is now helping, or has helped us, through overly ‘normal’ times, or…much more difficult ones.
I look forward to reading, curating and responding to your writings. I will protect everyone from ‘negativists’ and we can support each other in our quests. Be patient. If you have a lot to say, over time, I can offer you a special ‘guest-posting stream’ here.
Here, on this refuge.