Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why I Write Fantasy...

...well, one of the reasons (but it's a doosey):

"I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices, almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could." -- C.S Lewis, in an essay titled "Sometimes Fairy Stories Say Best What's To Be Said"

In literary parlance, it's called the suspension of disbelief...the almost magical ability stories have (whether in written, audio or movie form) to enable us to let go of our sacred paradigms and prejudices and experience life from a completely new and different vantage point. All literary genres do this, but fantasy is I think the best at it, because it challenges the reader's perspective not only on a particular issue or a type of person, but on the nature and meaning of the world itself, and our place in it. We're big on logic & scientific analysis in the West as the best means of convincing people of a particular belief or to bridge differences between groups or nations. But a powerful story, well told, has always been the most effective way to change a heart. And changed hearts are what I am after.

2 comments:

neicybelle said...

as a christian and a lover of fantasy stories, i've noticed that people have a tendency to believe the two cannot exist. i have c.s. lewis's science fiction works and am so thankful for them. forgive me for not knowing you published books besides these wonderful articles. i will pay a bit more attention and will look up the book you put on this post...
thank you

Cheryl said...

"A changed heart is what I am after." I think that is the crux of the matter. I once asked someone to tell me about his spirituality, and he proceeded to tell me of all the rules and regulations that he had been brought up with to say what it was not. We seem to have all the words to say for that, and all the examples of other people's ideas about who God is and what our relationship is supposed to be - but do we have the words to describe the reality? That God has done EVERYTHING, including giving up his own son, to make a way for us to have a close, intimate, personal, passionate, fulfilling, beyond everything we can ask or think relationship with him? It is time that we start telling the story as it is, his story, our story, the merging of the two. Whether it is through the route of fantasy or reality, the most important point is that it be told. What kind of story are our lives telling others? A thought to ponder...