We all have that one book; the one that we have read and re-read so many times we are nearing the point we must touch it with antiquarian precision for fear it will crumble to dust. I actually have a few of those, but this post is not about who my favourite authors are or what my favourite books are; it’s about what makes them so great I choose to revisit them like long-lost friends.
I am a science fiction/fantasy adventure junky, but I do crossover into non-fiction and the classics, Shakespeare, even poetry when the spirit moves me. In every genre there are common themes and in the sea of books written each year finding ones that stand out is at times challenging. When I think about writing, that is something that always weighs heavily on my mind. How do I create something new, vibrant and original when it seems every idea has already been explored. Those really great authors who find a way to transcend the conventional in whatever genre they dominate have one thing in common, I think; they are all a bit mad.
It takes a certain level of creative insanity to stretch the borders of not only your imagination but the imaginations of an entire genre. Fortunately, I believe we all have a little inner madness. The key is finding the courage to embrace the creature within and allow it to lend you its dark inspiration. Of course, if your inner creative demon wants you to begin sacrificing small children to unseen nocturnal gods you may want to forego this exercise and perhaps seek psychiatric help.
There are very few of us who have the opportunity to live in our creative space on a regular basis and I envy those authors who can. Day after day the rest of us are inundated with the mundane and forced to shelter our fantastic ideas in a delicate oasis protected from the monotonous cacophony of our overburdened minds.
Unfortunately, I can’t go to work every day lost in a daydreaming stupor, gibbering to myself like a lunatic, as tempting as it maybe. So, I try to find those quiet times where I can give my flights of fancy free rein to take me soaring through the cosmos or deep underground in search of lost and ancient magic.
As an adult it is easy to abandon our childish daydreams, but there are some things from our youth we should never leave behind, which are essential to the growth, and indeed the survival, of our imaginative creativity. As I write this, I realize for the past couple of years I have allowed the stresses and responsibilities of life (of which I had a lot more than usual) to distract me from my fantastical daydreams. Only recently have I found my way back to that little oasis in my mind and have now begun the difficult work of clearing the sand and widening the well.
It excites me to get back in touch with that part of myself again. I believe it will spark the creative juices and inspire me to stretch the boundaries of my universe.
Now, if you will excuse me, I off to do some demon hunting.