Today’s Post is by Sarah Queen, a fellow fantasy enthusiast. You can find her on Twitter by the handle @SarahAnneDroid. Take it away, Sarah!
Fantasy get’s a bad rap. We’ve all heard it before; the antisocial ones, trying to escape reality. Why lose oneself in worlds and societies that do not even exist? Well for me, it was often to find myself.
I have always been vexed with the need to know “why?” Why am I even here? Why bother? Why are we trying so hard? Why does it hurt so much?
Let’s face it; most of us do not have stimulating lives propelling us into all our hopes and dreams. Life is hard. Learning from life is even harder. Even a relatively good life: driving in traffic, working at a day job, grocery shopping, doing laundry and trying to get to bed in time to wake up early and do it all again tomorrow. It’s difficult to recognize purpose in the routine.
Yet do we breathe in and out just to eat that next meal, sleep and wake until one day we stop? I think the answer to that question lies in the fact that we would ask it at all. So if I desire more than the life of my five senses and daily routines, obviously there is a more I am yearning for. A more I have recognized and I’m missing it.
Life is a bizarrely multifaceted experience that I believe we’ve hardly scratched the surface of. Art in all its forms communicates these aspects from one soul to another. The way my heart stirs at the sight of the swirling, vibrant colors of a magnificent painting. The emotion forced to swell at the insistent tide of a beautiful melody! The call to action, like tides of a raging storm, my soul demands of me as I read the story of injustice!
If we were simply meant to eat, sleep, and breathe these other stirrings would not exist. They would have no place. They would make no sense. But, see, they do exist. And they move me with a power that I could not explain simply from within the confines of my own daily experience. So I turn to fantasy fiction.
I think if all paintings were only of real people and places our imaginations would be stunted and our ambitions dim. But painting the abstract dreamscape communicates something I’ve only experienced inwardly. Things I have explored and learned from through the fantastical epics of others. And I think there is a reason we relate so strongly to these stories.
Donald Miller, author of “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” explored the idea that there is a reason we relate to the basic aspects of the storyline. That we are ourselves the main character of our own story, and like any good plot, the main character wants something, and must overcome difficulty to get it.
Sci-fi and fantasy fiction helped me put to words the struggles that seemed far larger than my daily routine. The feeling of being small and simple in a world of powerful forces that I feel in no way capable of impacting, yet if evil goes unchallenged it will rise to defeat us all: Bilbo and Frodo, Atreyu, Richard Cypher, Lucy Pevensie, Harry Potter, Arthur Dent, Luke Skywalker. These characters helped me to recognize that everyone feels small and simple. Everyone is faced with the decision to fight for what is good and helpful, or to succumb to fear and side with evil and take from others at a rate that would harm them.
Fantasy worlds, societies, technologies; these also pull us into thinking in ways that we have not yet experienced. They make it possible to learn, and grow; to walk a mile in those proverbial shoes without actually getting the blisters. After all, every possibility that still lies only in our future is technically science fiction.
I grew up watching Star Trek: TNG (Captain Picard is my hero). I loved the idea of a convenient computer system they always had access to, which held the sum of human knowledge, a plethora of personal recordings and experiences, and made it very easy for them to stay in constant communication with one another. If one needed to learn about any subject they simply called it up from this wealth of readily available information. They even had convenient little handheld devices that would feed this information directly to wherever they needed it. Sounds familiar now, doesn’t it. But not then. This was decades before smart phones and tablets when the internet was really in its infancy, bulkily slugging along behind us.
Fantasy fiction provided us with a vehicle to explore all the layers of life and its possibilities. To explain in vibrant color the dreams we dream. To experience new and foreign concepts in a way that is not captured by our day to day settings. I don’t think fantasy will change the world. But I do think it changes people. And that can change the world.
Not to mention her Twitter handle, @SarahAnneDroid