In the last few years, I’ve discovered a love for fantasy in her coat of many colours. I’ve enjoyed supernatural fantasy, books about Royal Faerie’s and Dystopian works which feel a lot more like a word of warning than fantasy – and my creative brain has gone wild as I devour all of the details of the new fantastical worlds the authors create.
One thing I’ve noticed since my freefall into fantasy admiration has been the intentionality of my observation in nature. As a creative, I have always been inspired by nature but there has been a shift of late from the simple marvelling at creation to the imagining of what if’s and what could be alive beneath the veil of the reality of our own sight and existence.
A perfect example of this was a recent family walk to the beach. My husband and I made an intentional choice not to focus on the walk or the exercise, but to instead allow our children to explore at their own pace, to marvel and find wonder in the detail of their surrounds and it was glorious.
We all slowed down, we all turned toward deep focus and attention to detail. We watched as the waves lapped at the rocks and laughed when they caught us unawares. We watched crabs scurry for cover when we discovered their hiding spots and pointed out tiny flowers and unique rocks and shells.
We stared out at the horizon and watched the clouds breathe and water dance as birds skimmed across its surface. The kids climbed up hills and jumped off rocks and yelled with laughter without anyone telling them they were too loud. We paused, we exhaled.
I found myself squatting over tiny plants and rock clusters, taking pictures and building an entire world of imagination in my head. I looked out over the cliffs and considered if every detail multiplied in size, in fact, I watched it happen. I imagined myself tiny looking up at the rockface as if it were my Everest.
I wondered If the JK Rowling’s, JRR Tolkien’s, George RR Martin’s and C.S Lewis’ of the world saw the world like this? As if every detail mattered, as if everything could be manipulated to form another reality.
I wondered if I would ever weave words around these imaginings, if I could possibly learn to take this wonder and craft a new existence out of it on paper, one that looks so utterly different from what I know and from what I write.
The thought that I couldn’t didn’t even cross my mind, because it didn’t matter whether I did or not. The noticing, the intentionality of my focus, the slowing down to acknowledge wonder and imagination was the point.
This feeling hasn’t left me. Now when I am out on a walk on the street, along the beach or in the bush, I am seeking inspiration. I am studying the way the tree branches curve and stretch away from each other in the canopy above my head and the way the light dances through their limbs.
I am pausing for wonder and know that the simple act will enrich both my life and my work.
The Weapon of Fire and Ash Series by Kiwi American Brittany Matsen
The Folk of the Air Series by Holly Black
The Forgotten Ones Series by Kiwi American Jillian Webster.
Tyger by M. Marinan, Prolific Kiwi Fantasy Author - Great for younger readers
Vanessa is the author of three novels, with a fourth due out in December 2021.