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The Universe Is My Oyster: why I write speculative fiction

I’ve been weaving worlds for so long that I can’t imagine my life without them.

Raised on an expansive farm at the foot of Mount Taranaki was like growing up in my very own fantasy where the trees at the back of our lot kept track of the comings and goings on our property, sheltering us from any harm, and pixies called from beyond the hills at twilight hoping to coax you into joining them, never to return.

I was making up stories before I had the words to write them, and I knew, just knew that there was magic in the world, even if I was the only one who might see it.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. My younger brother often joined me as we searched for doors to other worlds in the rushes, or appeased water spirits in the river which dissected our land. We would hunt for ghosts anywhere we could, always staying clear of the ‘black hooded man’ who lurked in the shadows.

There was always a tale or two spinning around in my head and by age 13 I was trying to capture those in my earliest attempts at novels. I still have one of them actually, sitting in a file, waiting to be rewritten – another has already been reborn, the ideas having grown with me and expanded exponentially as I aged. In fact, many of my childhood imaginings have found their way onto the page, and those that haven’t yet no doubt will eventually.

How could I not write? What’s more, how could I not write speculative fiction? There is magic in this world of ours, magic that can lead us anywhere we might imagine. It vibrates in everything I see and the question – what if…? – is just begging to be explored.

I could no more deny the urge to write about beauty and decay, magic and the otherworldly, chaos and desire than I could deny the urge to breathe.

Don’t forget to check into the main page for NZ Speculative Fiction Blogging week for links to other great posts.

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17 thoughts on “The Universe Is My Oyster: why I write speculative fiction”

  1. This is beautiful! And so eloquently put. I grew up the same way–holes in the snow became doorways to other worlds, willow trees hid watching fairies, and blueberry patches were home to ghostly monsters.

    The magic is still there…which is why I love writing fiction, because it puts my mind back in a state where I can hear it. 🙂

  2. Lovely!

    “My younger brother often joined me as we searched for doors to other worlds in the rushes, or appeased water spirits in the river”

    Spec fic recaptures the imagination of childhood 🙂

    1. It does, I feel so blessed to have had an upbringing that was so rich in imagination, and to be able to spend so much time still enjoying that as an adult spec-fic writer.

  3. It was similar with my sister and I, We didn’t have a yard of our own (we lived in an apartment) so we’d make little stories up revolving around our dollhouse people and our stuffed animals and imagined their surroundings. My sister is a writer too; she writes fantasy while I went the historical fiction route.

    1. It’s so wonderful hearing about other peoples beginnings – it’s really cool that your sister also writes. My brother doesn’t, but he does feed me ideas because he thinks I’ll do a better job with them.

  4. Odd this. I had exactly the same kind of wonder and excitement about the world, and the same urge to make stories about it. Yet I never found magic, fairies, or ghosts, at all interesting. I marvelled at the stars, microscopic life, the possibility of exploration and discovery. I don’t suppose my world was any less ‘magical’ but it was always the incredible scale and complexity of reality that fired my imagination. So now, as then, I write science fiction.

    1. I did try and think of a word that included those things – I find the stars, and all the possibilities that hang in the universe with them exciting too – but magic seemed to be the best word to use for some reason.

      I guess the real beauty of being a writer, particularly one of spec-fic, is that you get to retain that sense of wonder and see things that others don’t in the everyday world.

  5. Wow, a fantastic post. Just the thing I needed to read to get my mind off the mundane stresses of dealing with call-waiting and trying to sort out getting the broken dishwasher fixed. It’s great to be reminded how writing connects us back to our younger selves and that sense of the wonderful and magical possibilities surrounding us.

  6. I love it, i don’t like reading at all, low patience i think, but reading the one for lauren, it makes you think what you have now and about dreaming what ever you want just might come true one day this world is strange, i see that in photography seeing what you believe, flowers are mine, love it wana read more.

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