The question of why do you write has come up several times recently in my group of writing friends, and most recently, on one of my #BeStill blog posts. Everyone has a reason that they started writing. I love to hear these stories because sometimes it reflects my own journey in some way. And sometimes it reminds me of how powerful it is to connect with readers through our stories emotionally. This happened when I read this week’s author, Meg Boepple’s article on why she writes fantasy.
by Meg Boepple
“Why do you write fantasy? You should write what’s real.”
Yes, someone seriously said that to me, not very long ago!
Well, in a nutshell, here’s why.
When I was not quite thirteen years old, wearing the uncomfortable identity of “the poor little girl who lost her father to cancer,” I found solace in books. Madeleine L’Engle and Andre Norton were my favorite authors, but any book would do if it helped me avoid how I was feeling. When the language arts teacher pointed out a dusty trilogy in the school library written by a British linguistics professor, I practically moved to Middle-Earth.
My mom had to pry the first book out of my hands the night of the memorial service, where a parade of grownups eulogized a stranger who bore no resemblance to my daddy. They described a stuffy old preacher who liked to play golf and tennis and had been in the old Army Air Corps.
Where was the beloved man with the zany sense of humor and the crooked smile who dished out a bowl of ice cream every night? The man who ran beside me for miles after he took the training wheels off my bike? Who made a monthly ritual out of reading each new issue of National Geographic from cover to cover with me? I desperately wanted to escape. Anywhere.
When we finally arrived back home, I dashed upstairs to see how Frodo and the Fellowship would get through the dreadful blizzard, while two dozen well-meaning folks sat around downstairs and did the “wake” thing with my mom and older sister.
Soon, tears I hadn’t dared to show earlier poured down. I tossed the book on the floor, huddling on my bed.
My sister came into my room. “What’s wrong?”
I buried my head against her shoulder. “G—g—Gandalf’s dead.” Not Daddy’s dead. Gandalf.
“Keep reading. The story’s not over yet,” she said.
That night, JRR Tolkien taught me to believe in eucatastrophe, the sudden happy turn of events that follows on the heels of sorrow.
Gandalf didn’t stay dead.
Through the magic doorway of fantasy, I got a handle on my feelings of grief. Even young children can grapple with good and evil, lean to face the things that go bump in the night, when they listen to tales that begin “Once upon a time” and end with “They lived happily ever after.” Identifying with loss on such an epic scale as Gandalf’s fiery plunge into darkness gave me a safe way to acknowledge my own pain. I didn’t need a reality check … I needed something that transcended reality.
I still do. Maybe all of us do.
So, that’s why I write fantasy. Because I want everyone to know … the story’s not over yet.
Everyone has had a first love…the one they had new experiences with and the one they can’t forget. Whether it be the boy next door, a loyal princess, or a supernatural being, all of these stories have two things in common: love at first sight and elements of fantasy.
In “Message in a Bottle,” Moira is immediately attracted to the tall, handsome man who’s a fellow volunteer on her beach-cleanup vacation. But he’s got a ring on his finger. He’s equally fascinated by the alluring woman. He thinks she’s a Siren, not the Mermaid he’s engaged to but has never seen…and she has no idea that he’s a Selkie. She doesn’t even believe in them. And she can’t possibly be his Mermaid, since she can’t even swim. Is it love at first sight? Or will fate keep them apart forever?
Meg Boepple is the pen name for Sara Meg Seese, an author who writes fantasy, romance, and inspirational women’s fiction. She wrote her college honors thesis on the works of JRR Tolkien and has been looking for evangelium and eucatastrophe in stories ever since.
Her second published short story starts off the FIRST LOVE fantasy romance anthology (released this past February) and her third story comes out next month in SEA OF SECRETS.
She lives in Fort Worth with three feline companions/editorial assistants, Her Majesty Sparkles the First, Ambassador-Plenipotentiary Peanut the Cowardly Lion-Hearted, and Lady Pistachio “KitKit” Sharpclaw, aka She Who Kneads Sensitive Body Parts at Midnight.
Social Media Links:
Before you go, make sure you connect with Meg online and check out her latest release, First Love, and her upcoming release, Sea of Secrets.