Suddenly I find myself day-dreaming about deep, magical forests, and swirling purple skies full of glittery stars, and pointy-eared people with eyes like jewels, tip-toeing along tree-branches, and glowing night-bugs that turn the shadows golden and scatter before the hooves of dark unicorns.
Right now, I wish I lived in a fantasy world. I don’t feel like this all the time, but when I do, it’s a pretty intense desire, and because it’s unfulfillable, it has a fair bit of sadness mixed in with it. It’s comparable to the dull ache of misery I used to feel when I was a kid reading the Harry Potter series, knowing that none of it was real even though I really, really, really wanted it to be.
I experienced the same feeling when the Lord of the Rings movies came out. The books didn’t quite ignite that desire in the same way as the Harry Potter books, but the movie’s depictions of Lothlórien and other places definitely did.
There have been a number of other things (books, movies, music, photography, art, games) that have triggered this feeling for me, the most recent significant example being my immersion in World of Warcraft (which has now ended with the cancellation of my subscription to the game, although I still listen to the music on a daily basis). When real life was shitty, my feelings about Azeroth would go from “Wouldn’t it be cool to spend a holiday in Mount Hyjal?” to “Oh my God, I need this to be real. WHY IS THIS NOT REAL?! WHHHY…?!”
One good byproduct of this desperation is that it motivates me to write. I’m writing a novel at the moment. It’s not entirely a fantasy novel; more like a speculative fiction novel with fantasy icing, but I’m trying to give it a bit of that magical vibe. While I’m writing, I try to imagine how the scenes would look as a movie. This is not the sort of fiction I normally write or read. Despite my occasional obsession with fantasy, I’m usually more into real-life, dramatic, character-driven fiction, with my current favourite authors being David Mitchell and Margaret Atwood. In between all the real-life drama, both of them have delved into the speculative and the fantastical, and I guess I want to try doing something similar.
At the moment I’m working with multiple perspectives and tenses and trying to build a unique and convincing world. A number of the characters were born during the literary spewfest of NaNoWriMo back in November, and others originated, at least in name, more than ten years ago when I started writing and drawing my first epic fantasy. It had about twenty chapter ones and never got much further than that, but I’m determined to get further with it this time now that I’m older and wiser. I even have a few premature grey hairs now, and I’m hoping that this will help me in some way.