Running from April 6th through April 8th 2018 this online book event brings readers and authors together for a weekend of books, and book related events.
Why I Write Fantasy – By Mary R. Woldering
I really don’t have an answer to that. I write and fantasy happens. Reality, as in life restricted to the five senses bores me to tears. I was born into a very religious family, so things of “God” and angels and devils were natural to me, even though I couldn’t see them. When I was afraid of storms (as one of the characters in my novels fears them) my Mother told me it was god cleaning and re-arranging things in heaven. I was given little candles to burn to speed my prayers to heaven.
I drew pictures of scribble tornados even though we had no TV in those days and I had never seen one. When I went to the movies and later when the television arrived in our house, I BECAME characters in them. I was Davy Crockett “Grinning a bar…” It didn’t matter that he was a man. I had an imaginary friend named Starr who could appear as different things: A Native American, a young man with long black hair who danced. He could also be just a star. I sang “Twinkle, twinkle little star to him.”
I knew about other creatures too. I saw them in my dreams, even though I never read about them. There were solid white or pale people, ghosts and apparitions in my room. My Mother said it was the devil and told me to pray. I told her I would pray him out of Hell and after that she didn’t say anything else on the matter.
At first, I drew, then I wrote. All stories I wrote, even as a child, contained something of the spirit or of dreams. I could fly, I could be a witch, I could turn into a hawk, I could walk through walls. Starr was still there in the background, but we didn’t talk as much. In High school I wrote a Regency/early Victorian romance but, sure enough my pale people came in and Starr showed up as a ghostly guide to the hero of the story.
In college I met others like me who spent much time in the ‘dream verse” My best friend and others told me I was just psychic and I was seeing real spirits as well as remembering past lives. Starr? He, they said, was a guardian spirit.
Now my writings of the unreal increased and I wrote down all the dreams, meditated with friends and wrote some more. It was as if my world of fantasy suddenly had permission. My friend and I traded stories of our off-kilter childhoods. She could fly, and there was something about a dragon (if I remember right) she made up a language and talked to ghosts too. We ended up “seeing” each other in different eras – and of course you find us both in my major work series Children of Stone.
In summary, I say I write fantasy because it’s my reality. As I say in my bio, fantasy is me. One hundred years ago I would have been in a madhouse.
The excerpt below is part of an Urban fantasy short story published in Dreamtime Dragons this year. It’s based on stories my friend told me of her childhood and if became “Ana’s Dream of Flying”
The entity shaped the crystalline orb it formed with what might have been a hand.
Human. As man, it self-whispered as the dark blue star-filled shape with the emerald bracelet at its wrist became clear, took on the appearance of ruddy skin and solidified.
He watched Ana grab the broken stub of a much-chewed pencil and begin to scribble a shape on the pale purple scrap of paper.
She bit down on the eraser in a nervous gesture and tucked one of the fat braids that had come loose from her head. A figure emerged. It was a tall and red manlike thing with a long turban-like hat tilted back from his brow. She colored his long robe red, but couldn’t decide what to do with the feet so she extended it to the bottom of the page.
The entity smiled and nodded, pleased.
“I will call you Mr. Man.” she affirmed. “I know you. You watch over me when I am sleeping.” Her teeth flashed in a grin as she pushed the crayon over the surface of her artwork.
She can’t see me; not in the light of day, the creature smiled.
The veil is too thick in the cursed sunlight.
At night is when she can see me
I will come to her as a dream,
then carry her away to the lands and places where we walked once when we were gods.
I have watched parts of her shattered soul for centuries.
Tonight, sweet little child, when you dream,
I will take you flying,
I will teach you to fly and then you will remember even more.
In the thinning distance between worlds, the entity heard a crackly sound of something from another room, suddenly joined by the wispy, singing voice of an older female.
“Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away.
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away.
When the shadows of this life have flown,
I’ll fly away.
Like a bird thrown, driven by the storm,
I’ll fly away.”
Then the singing stopped and the crackly sound went abruptly silent with a click, followed by: “Ana…come to supper, dear.”
Voice from another room, it mused, the smell of cooking is strong. Fire-treated winged creature – chicken.
For a moment, the entity wished for a human form; one that would love to eat the older female’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans.
There will be something she calls pie, afterward.
§ § § §
“Yas, Muh’dear” the little brown skinned girl muttered, perturbed that she’d have to stop her drawing and put her things away. A slight frown crept over her high forehead. She slapped her crayon on the table, then paused and picked it up. In a quick, gesture, as if adding something extra, she scribbled red angel wings sticking out of the sides of the creature’s robe. Regarding her work, she changed them so that they looked sharp and pointy.
“That’s better. No angel-y wings for you. Now you can fly away. Don’t let them see you, Mr. Man. It’s our secret. Mwah!” she kissed the paper then folded it, tucked it in her school notebook and put away her crayon. She didn’t see the red pulse that glimmered inside the spiral bound pages.
Little Ana, not quite eleven, ate her supper, watched the “Outer Limits” with Muh’Dear and Daddy, then took her bath. She put on her pink PJ’s, brushed her teeth and went to bed, but couldn’t sleep.
Big bad devil is out there but Cass and Jera’boam will protect me, she thought.
They were her daydream friends. They always would laugh and play with her outside and take turns jumping off the porch, pretending they could fly. When she was five they wanted her to jump off the roof of the shed, but Daddy caught her just in time.
They don’t believe in you. They say you are ‘maginary and to stop fooling around. Be a big girl they say, but I always was a big girl. She snickered as she snuggled in her covers. I just shrinkity shrank like my red sweater in the washing machine.
Ana loved to draw and dance and play. She didn’t like school too much.
The nuns are mean and always talk about sins and devils and how they come and get bad little boys and girls who cause trouble in class.