04 September 2013

Beyond the Veil: Saved by Fantasy


Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
~ William Butler Yeats

In September, I’m participating in the Sapphire Even Day Blogging Challenge and the Two Pages-A-Day Writing Challenge. 


S
tories have been a part of my life since I was born..

Up until I was about five, my mother would read me Bible stories as she rocked me to sleep.  My sisters and I would beg my father to tell the Polish tale of Pan Fordofski almost every night.  And a trip to the library was like a trip to paradise.

Kimberly, for today’s Sapphire prompt, asked us “Which book and/or movie has affected you like no other? How? Why?”  Honestly, I can’t name just one.

There were the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Boxcar Children mysteries.  There was Oliver Twist, Sherlock Holmes, The Tell-Tale Heart, and Pride and Prejudice.  Later, it was A Wrinkle in Time, The Dragonriders of Pern, and Lord of the Rings.  Brideshead Revisited, Room with a View, Anne of Green Gables.  I could fill page after page with titles and authors that have affected me ~ just look through my Goodreads list for a taste of what I’ve read in the past and what I’m currently devouring.

The one constant is the other worldliness of the stories that have become a part of me, both as a reader, and a writer.

Image Credit: www.faeriewood.com

Stepping through the Veil
I’ve always been convinced that there is “more than this provincial life.”  You could almost call it an obsession with finding a way to open some invisible gate, and step into that other realm known only in dreams and between the pages of a well-crafted book.  As L.M. Montgomery said in Anne of Green Gables

“It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil.  I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond - only a glimpse - but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile."

Those with an active imagination has seen that veil, felt the stirring of the unseen breeze where no wind moves the trees.  For me, it’s like walking next to an alternate reality that you can’t quite see ~ it’s always just out of your range of vision.  And the only way to fully capture it is in dreams.

Or on the page.

It's why I believe that teaching children not just to read, but to write creatively, is essential.  We aren't just giving them the tools to do well in school, or in the work place.  For many of them, reading (and writing) is a lifeboat to sanity and healing.  Without those worlds to step into, I know I would have slipped into apathy or madness long ago. 

So if I had to choose, I would say that fiction, and the fantasy genre in particular, made, no make, life bearable.  As Chesterton once said,

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What book, movie, or genre has affected you and why?

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