Little white lies. Big fat ones. Most of us tell them now and then. I try not to lie too much in my every day life, not even when my kids ask me how babies are made, or whether the tooth fairy is real, or what a cannibal is and whether I’ve ever tasted human flesh (I haven’t, for the record, but we’ve had a few conversations now about what might make someone turn to cannibalism and the cultures in which this was historically done).
But writing fiction is all about lying. About creating marvelous stories. About spinning a tale tall and wide, capturing the reader in our web and attempting to make them forget that the characters they are reading about aren’t real.
It’s about telling lies so good that you could almost believe them.
For me, the really beautiful part about telling these lies though, is that at the core there is truth. The essence of what it is to be human. The pain, the joy, the horror. The awkward moments, the precious, the ones that keep you up at night for better or worse. Within the realms of science fiction, fantasy, horror (and everything else besides) is where we get the space, the freedom, to really explore these things in a way that exceeds the daily grind, in a way that has the capacity to dig deeper, push harder, shine light into the dark places, and elevate us in ways which many may find it impossible to do otherwise. We can explore the things that scare us, the things that excite us, in a safe space, knowing that we can shut the book if we need to.
I love to write, and I love to read, and the power of the written word has always been something awe-inspiring for me. I feel pretty blessed that occasionally, I get to tell a story that touches someone, makes them laugh, or cry or feel something more than they did before reading it. That’s pretty epic.