the circular runner

Kevin Brockmeier speaks to my doubting mind…

In teaching & education, writers & books on May 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

a kindred spirit...

If you’ve been following this blog lately, you know I have a story collection titled, Real Magic Doesn’t Sell,” and I have been struggling with labels for what I do so I can get agents/indie presses interested. Well, I just read the following by Kevin Brockmeier. It’s long, but I love what he says about why he writes in a way that mixes fantasy with the real.  I think it gets at what I’m trying to do and hope to do as a writer.  It’s less about escapism, which I sometimes think is the point of a lot of so-called “fantasy writers.”  The point is to show the possibility of magic and wonder in what we normally call the real.  Anyway, I think Mr. Brockmeier is much more eloquent on the subject.  So without further ado:

“So why do I place my characters in fantastic, absurd situations? My first and most honest answner would be that it’s a way of activating my imagination. I think that every writer has certain modes of thinking, topics of particular interest, even certain obsessions, that constitute his or her most natural creative terrain. An impartial reader, for instance, one who didn’t know me at all, might conclude from examining the books I’ve written that my natural creative terrain was made up of loss, the intricacies of work and craftsmanship, children and childhood, fairy tales, the Bible, the night sky, movies, the daytime sky, unusual words, list-making, playful little metaphysical puzzles, what things ought to be called, specific qualities of light and color, acts of memory, animals, and misbegotten love a very partial list. I’m constantly trying to add to this catalog of interests, but there are certain subjects that lie so far outside my creative terrain that I find them almost unreachable. When I try to write, say, strictly realistic domestic fiction–much of which I enjoy reading–a shade seems to descend inside my head, and I find it very difficult to see through to the other side. But when I return to those subjects and approaches that naturally engage me, the shade lifts free, and my thoughts begin to leap forward of their own accord. What I’m saying, I suppose, is that there are certain things my imagination feels comfortable doing and certain things it doesn’t. I’ve come to believe that if I’m going to write with any fluidity, I have not only to pay attention to what those things are, I have to indulge them.”

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