May 10, 2017

why fantasy matters


This morning the sky burned with a magnificent sunrise of the kind I have not seen for a while - the heavy, solemn, fierce-hearted kind that we get as autumn deepens into winter. It seemed to speak of swords and blood and love. As I looked at it, my thoughts went to the great old stories of poet-kings in the kingdoms of stone and roses, and I wondered if those stories were gleaned not from half-remembered historic events but from the wild sky.

As the crimson eased away, leaving grey threaded with gold like a broken kintsugi heaven, I heard wind rushing through the morning. I felt it too, although I was indoors - the cold thin sense of a windswept sky, the echoing of far away. I was not the only one. But infact there was not the slightest breeze out there. The morning only dreamed of storms.

I believe all times are mythic times. Even the most private threshold is profound for the person standing alone and uncertain on it. But these times now are a global story. We urgently need tales strong enough, deep enough, to express what we are experiencing. There are no better for it than those of mythic fantasy. They can hold the profundity more than any other genre; they can encompass all that we need, and envision a hope mad and wild and beautiful enough for the days ahead. They slip around our worried conscious mind and speak truth, in riddle and ancient half-poem, straight to our heart. We need now so much to hear from the goddess and the trees and all the wonderful possibilities. Fantasy can do that for us.

art by rima staines, whose book tatterdemalion (with sylvia linsteadt) is just the kind of fantasy novel I mean.


  1. I'm excitedly awaiting my copy of Tatterdemalion... can't wait! Oh, how we need good, deep, true stories!
    PS the contrast with our Spring dawn couldn't be greater - it arrived at 4am with delicate birdsong, growing in volume as the sky turned the most gentle, pale blue...

    1. Your sunrise sounds beautiful. <3

  2. so true---mythic fantasy is the vessel we need most just now.

    we need shamans of all kinds, really, if we are to heal anything in this world, or ourselves.

    i so loved the image of the kintsugi sky...