19: Whole New Worlds

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from what is not visible.

– Hebrews 11:3

There is a special place in my heart for fantasy (so much so that Neil Gaiman was one of my Michelle-Tan-milestones). It’s the place I go to when I’ve escaped to another world beyond our own, where characters become more real than persons, where dragons are better pets than retrievers and where you never have to take anything for your sister because she can just say ‘accio‘. (It’s also the place when where I don’t have to pass any exams because the White Wizard said so.) I would imagine that it’s the place I go to when I’m a little closer to heaven; not because heaven is a fantasy, but because heaven is not of this world.

It strikes me that I’ve never come across an arrogant fantasy writer. Which is a rather strange thing, considering that fantasy writers are gods. They are the creators of new worlds – worlds that span time and space, worlds of magic, worlds of aliens, worlds of history, worlds of lore. You’d think they’d be brimming with pride over the exquisiteness of their world and filled with pomp because they know that their world shifts and heaves with a flick of their pen.

But no. Fantasy writers themselves always seem smaller than the worlds they create. Some writers are unassuming, many are quiet, and most are quirky – in some way or another. But fantasy writers never seem to be filled with self-importance. It’s as if they know that the worlds that they have created is but a single thread in the tapestry of Worlds.

(Though Oscar Wilde does come to mind; but I won’t exactly put him in the fantasy genre. Dorian Gray was more of… noir~ Besides, I don’t really think he’s proud. He’s too cynical to be proud. And he did admit himself that he was actually more like Basil Hallward than Lord Henry.)

And perhaps, this is not too surprising after all. It is precisely writers who know that stories are accidents. No one ever intends to write this or that novel; they always intend something else, which then accidentally became the novel that they wrote. So above all, writers know one thing about this world better than anyone else. They know that stories come from a realm that is beyond their control. They know that stories are transcendental, not simply because they endure beyond our lifetimes, but because they originated from beyond our very lives. They know that there is something more than this world that is larger than themselves and any world that they could possibly create.

There is a spark of the divine in every story, every artwork, every new idea. It is that momentary connection with something eternal, something transcendent, something whose very nature is creative, that leads to inspiration. Perhaps, writers are simply trying to capture a glimpse of this Other World every time they write. Perhaps, writers, like all of us, are simply trying to access the Divine. Perhaps, writers are praying.

One wonders then if they are really trying to be God, or simply to be like God. It’s the difference between Adam and Jesus. One was a man with God, but wanted to be God, and thus fell to being only a man. The other is God who became a man, who was so much like God that he is God.

That makes all the difference – between the sinner and the saint.

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About Mel

I dreamt I was a whale. https://melvynfoo.wordpress.com/about-mel/