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Tag Archives: writing as catharsis

I’m both excited and terrified to shortly release this novel into the world.  What started out as an interesting exploration into one of the archetypes of fairy tale relationships, which requires that one or both of the characters must undergo a crucial transformation before its actualization, became something significantly more personal over time.

When we write what we know it becomes inevitably personal.  When what we know is pain and heartbreak, that thing which is personal becomes harrowing.  This book has been a trial and a catharsis.  I don’t believe I’ll ever read it again once it’s been published.

However, as a writer of non-fiction, and fantasy in particular, you can’t stop at writing what you know.  You have to engage with the unknown, to open your mind to encounters with unreality, with what-ifs and possibilities.  This is an indescribable freedom.  It was said best by Ursula Le Guin, a woman for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration:

Only the imagination can get us out of the bind of the eternal present, inventing or hypothesizing or pretending or discovering a way that reason can then follow into the infinity of options, a clue through the labyrinths of choice, a golden string, the story, leading us to the freedom that is properly human, the freedom open to those whose minds can accept unreality.

(From Some Thoughts on Narrative, 1980)

For many, accepting unreality is a blessing.  Most people come to read fantasy to escape their reality and that’s certainly what attracted me as an over-dramatic pre-teen, when my love of the genre began.

So there’s an element of irony to the fact that my first published work of fantasy has forced me to confront my own reality rather than provide escapism from it.