Friday, July 29, 2011

Straddling The Worlds

One thing which has always been easy for me is straddling the worlds.  It could be because I'm a Gemini, or maybe just because I have been an avid daydreamer since my early days at school, eventually being encouraged by a wonderful teacher, James Thomas Michael McMahon, to write down my stories and chiding me when he knew I could do better.  He was the man who made me re-think creativity and to listen to the little voices in my head when they wanted to tell their tales, to let the stories flow from them and tell them just as I heard them.

I must have been all of thirteen when that happened, and I quickly learned how to jump back and forth between what worlds were being born within my imagination and the questions the external voices of the teachers in the other classes were asking, and somehow never lost my place in either.  It actually became easy to absorb history by adding new characters to events.  I found the Middle Ages were especially good for this, for I had grown up with Robin Hood and that ilk and imagining castles, swords and bows and arrows was no stretch to an already fertile imagination.  

The one place it did not work was math class.  There was no way I could add or subtract anything from the dry theorems in geometry.  Science was easier.  In my chemistry class I began to experiment with the glass tubing and Bunsen burners and made some wonderfully twisty glass straws, which of course was not what I was supposed to be doing.   Astronomy was like an old friend, especially when we began to study the constellations and got into the mythology behind the names they were given.  I learned to play at being an ancient astronomer, connecting the dots and seeing the patterns the mind formed by so doing.

I have never forgotten that lesson.  I try to connect the dots now with words instead of lines, picking up chance incidents in history and mythology and making a pattern out of them, seeing a picture that others have missed.  I hope my readers can see it too, and will learn to straddle the worlds of  what is and what may be with me.

If you are in the area of Burbank, California tomorrow (Saturday, July 30), I will be signing books at Dark Delicacies at 2PM.  Here's a link to the information:

Please stop by.  I would love to meet you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quid Fiat Si...?

I asked my favourite Latin professor to translate my motto, "What If...?" into Latin for me.  Quid Fiat Si...?  (What would happen if...") was the answer. 

What if...?

It's not only the premise of every book I have ever written, it is the premise behind every piece of fiction anyone has ever written.  What if characters with certain backgrounds and certain characteristics were put together under a certain set of circumstances>  What would they do?  How would they interact?  How would they change their own lives and the lives of those around them?

It's not just the basis of literature, but of all art and science.  What would happen if two chemicals were combined?  What would happen if certain chords were played in a certain order?  What would happen if we put a space capsule with people in it atop a huge rocket and shot them off into space?

Two small but magical words, "What if...?"...two small words with a huge potential to launch the most wonderful of all vehicles, the human imagination.

The Latin translation of this motto  may not have the grandeur of "Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense", the motto of the Order of the Garter , but "Quid Fait Si...?" is enough of a motto for this author.