and not for everyone…
Since Rowling invented the world of Harry Potter and Poe wrote his first sentences, there has been an everlasting debate on whether or not reading fantasy is useful or even meaningful. What is the point of creating new worlds that don’t fit into today’s modern norms? Or worlds that are archaic in nature?
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be describing how fiction (fantasy fiction specifically) has changed my life for the better and continues to inspire me to reach new goals both professionally and personally. I’ll share some of the shows and books that have impressed me and continue to build new worlds for me. Here’s a little bit about how I found the world of creative writing through the Fantasy genre:
I found fantasy early in elementary school through the Harry Potter books. I remember the books just came out and so we had to get permission slips because the book had one curse word in it. My teacher at the time was an amazing reader and made the books come to life. Because of the time constraints, we weren’t able to finish the book. When we begged for more, the teacher replied that we should ask our parents or write the end ourselves.
I did ask my mom, but she was a struggling single parent at the time. I knew the likelihood of me getting a book wasn’t going to happen, so I took the latter road and thus began my journey as a writer. I did get the book for Christmas and a new tradition began.
The point is, I found the magic of fantasy in a time where I really needed it. Things were hard as a family and I was struggling to understand it all as a kid and admittedly wasn’t doing very well. It got even worse a few years later when my step dad passed away. Fantasy was my retreat into a world that understood confusion and chaos and how to explain it. I wasn’t afraid or scared when facing wands and magic.
The world, though much more adventurous, became safe for me in books so I consumed whatever was available. I learned that good exists in Harry Potter, when I didn’t see good in the real world. I learned monsters can always be defeated from Buffy, when monsters seemed so impossible in reality. Charmed taught me lessons about family at a time when my family felt so dysfunctional.
The truth is that fiction teaches us lessons that we are already experiencing in the real world. Fiction makes reality easier to understand and process. For some it’s therapy and for others it’s a form of clarity, but no matter what fantasy fiction is to you, it is an absolute necessity in the writing genre. Fantasy is the connection between reality and imagination that makes it possible for both concepts to live on the same plane of existence at the same time. Through imagination and creativity, we can learn to explore and create new inventions that improve the lives around us that would otherwise not exist.
However, reading fantasy is not for everyone. While I attest that everyone should read at least one fantasy novel in their lifetime, I admit myself that fantasy is a hard genre to plug into. Not all of it is great and not all of it fully makes sense. Perhaps some fantasy is written before it is ready to exist, or the picture is too big to put into words. Whatever the case, even regular fantasy readers have trouble reading and understand some of the worlds found in fantasy. Still, I would implore those just embracing the fantasy genre not to give up and stick to a goal of at least one fantasy book per year.
Because when you plug into that world that does make sense and completely envelopes you in its magic or science, it is literal magic. These books can teach our children (and us) the most basic human concepts that we often forget exist: love, hope, goodness, empathy.
Fantasy and science fiction are often the means by which creativity and imagination exist or expand, or, at the very least, give us the option to make our imagination come to life. After all, flat screen tvs and video didn’t exist, but were written about in Fahrenheit 451 long before the concept was ever considered. If we can write about something and make it believable, why can’t it become reality?
Perhaps we won’t be seeing the next vampire any time soon, but isn’t the rest of the world up for creative invention? I could give you a long list of inventions that only existed in science fiction novels or fantasy novels long before they were ever given the time of day, but I think you get my point by now.
Fantasy is an important genre to read. Whether it’s superheroes wearing capes, vampires back from the dead or alternate realities of dystopian proportions. Fantasy is as important as non fiction, self help books or romantic comedy.
What about you, my lovely reader? What has fantasy taught you? I’d love to hear your feedback and inspiration.
Merlot Et Mots