More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Writing what you know bores you? Write what you wish

This entry isn't about the craft of writing--exactly. What it's really about is drawing inspiration from tidbits of other people's lives, and allowing our imaginations to revise our personal realities.

You see, I am a mermaid. Ah, but to say so now is to buy the fish before the aquarium, so indulge me while I digress.

I came from a family steeped in hard, cold reality. SO much so that I grew up utterly convinced that I was an adopted child. I squandered quite a few Saturday nights searching the house for evidence that would prove me an abandoned or orphaned Hawaiian mermaid princess.

As I'm sure you've gleaned by now, hard, cold reality bores the ever-lovin' hell out of me.

My father, brilliant man that he was and is, has never held much of an appreciation for my infatuation with the stuff of myths and legend. While he's by far the most well-read man I've ever known, my father is not given to flights of fancy. He is a pure scientist--he relies on the five senses to provide him with the information by which he, in turn, forms his practical reality.

Being the imaginative bairn that I was, I'm sure you can imagine some of the arguments my father and I engaged in as I grew up. By some comic turn of fate, I was the sort of child who dwelled within. I believed in everything my father insisted could not enter the realm of possibility--Santa, faeries, ghosts, selkies, unicorns. Compassionate politics. World peace. Oh, and merpeople. Like me.

In spite of the fact my father used scientific principals to convince me of the error of my delusions, I've always remained convinced that I am a mermaid. My fascination with merpeople has followed me into adulthood, and the picture that accompanies this post is of the last mermaid that followed me home from a day trip to Captiva (Heaven on earth if you've never been there....for both human women and mer-types.) To me, mermaids are real. I cannot, will not contemplate a world without them. End of story, don't mess with me on this. Got it?

You'd think that as an adult woman with four children, I would have found cause to doubt my conviction of my semi-piscean state. Certainly none of my offspring came with fins. Gasp! Could it be that my father was right?

I might have begun to wonder until I ran across a bone fide merman sighting. Not an ancient one, mind you. Rather a recent one. Which means that I am, at the very least, not alone in my convictions that merpeople live and breathe (respirate?).

Fishermen claim they've spotted an amphibious creature resembling a human in the Caspian sea. Gafar Gasanof, the captain of the Baku, an Azeri trawler, told an Iranian newspaper: "The creature was swimming a parallel course near the boat for a long time.

He went on to report, "at the beginning we thought it was a big fish, but then we spotted hair on the head of the monster and his fins looked pretty strange, the front part of his body was equipped with arms."

According to Mr. Gasanot, this 'man of the sea' has been spotted with increasing regularity since off-shore oil production began in the Caspian. Other eyewitness say the marine humanoid is about 5ft 6ins, of strong build with a protruding stomach, webbed hands and black-green hair. His lower lip is said to join smoothly to his neck above the gills.

OK, so he's not exactly the hunkalicious merman I envisioned, but he's a merman nonetheless. And you know, he *could* be a long lost relative of mine. Maybe he's green because he's seasick, homesick, or just plain heart sick from missing his long lost mermaid princess!

As you can see just reading this little tidbit has my muse working overtime. And I'm sure my Daddy is sitting out there somewhere, wondering how on earth any daughter of his (even adopted) could possibly believe such a thing possible.

The point? Allow your world to enchant you and stories will find you.

*Sigh*. So many stories. So little time.


Jennifer L Hart said...

So in a nutshell, reality is overrated? ;-)

Deborah Blake said...

Great post! I used to be pretty sure I was some kind of alien. Vulcan, maybe? Goodness knows, I'm not exactly "normal" whatever that is.

But that's okay. Because normal is boring...and who wants to be that?

Shannon Delany said...

Great post, Liane! I agree with you wholeheartedly. We make our lives what we want them to be, just like we do with the fiction we craft. And just because your merman didn't wind up amazingly handsome doesn't mean his brethren aren't. ;-)

Follow your imagination--it'll always take you on the greatest trips! :-)

SarannaDeWylde said...

Normal can suck it. LOL.

Of course you're a mermaid. I used to believe that I was one too. Then I was a long-lost mafia princess. Then I was a witch descended from a long line of witches and then, I was Queen of the Universe. When you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, this is the answer you would get. Ambitious? Me?

I would swim all day at the pool and stay under water as long as I could hoping that my gills would show themselves.

Oh, and then I was a lost descendent of Elizabeth Bathory... yeah, that was a creepier time in my life. LOL.

But I guess what I'm trying to say is that I agree with you wholeheartedly. *g*

Robin said...

I've always hoped my imaginary world would get me someplace someday. In fact, it was my imaginary world that got me out of my destructive family life, break the cycle, and create a happier future for myself and my growing family.

Alternate realities can hold great power.

I did the Bathory thing, too, Saranna. I was a mermaid for quite awhile, as well, because we lived across the way from a river, so that was a given. I was also a gypsy princess, who had to dance to survive the harsh world I lived in. Yeah, well...

This is why we are so good at what we do. Our characters are true extensions of ourselves, even those fantastic creatures that no one *really* believes in--except us.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

LOL, Jenn, you've got it!

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Oh, Deb, if you're really a Vulcan, can you set me up with Spock? ;) I know what you're saying. There was always this vague sense of not fitting. I still have it....but I've grown enough to embrace my eccentricities instead of trying to fit in the "normal" mold. Whatever that is....a setting on the washing machine?

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Saranna, Shannon and Robin.....OMG, so much in common. I wonder how much of this has to do with an "artistic temperament?" Does it explain why so many artists seem to suffer from depression? Hmmmm....fodder for another post?

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