One of the things I love most about being a writer is the endless possibilities it presents – not only to explore our inner selves but also the opportunity it gives us to explore the unknown, the fantastical, the magical, the untouchable.
All writers have heard the old saying ‘write what you know’, and while I think this is good advice to newer writers, I also think it can be taken too literally. I mean, we all know what it is to yearn for something – a person, a job, a toy. Most of us have experienced love, shame, anger, we’re all human (at least I assume you are if you’re reading this – hello to any super intelligent animals and alien beings!). We can extend that range of human emotions to imagine ourselves in almost any position; and this is what it means to me to write what I know.
Because, quite frankly, I’m far more interested in writing about places and happenings that I don’t know, than ones that I do. Putting all those human emotions to the test in situations I’ll never encounter really appeals.
Part of the beauty of writing speculative fiction is that you can ask any question, broach any topic and explore any world you could possibly imagine – and the flipside is that there are writers who can imagine worlds you can’t, and you then get to explore those in your reading. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.
Exploration and escapism go hand in hand for me, both as a writer and a reader. Always has, always will.