Here is the scene outside my back gate this January morning. Such a change from the recent muddy, wet, damp and dreary weather.
This kind of scenery, when the snow is fresh and clean, transforms the world, making the everyday seem magical. It reminds me that wonder is all around us, all the time, and that within everyday scenes there is magic just waiting for the right conditions to awaken it.
Just like in the best fantasy fiction.
Though fantasy worlds are built from imagination, they’re rooted in the real, familiar world. Without that connection to the familiar, fantasy would lose its appeal. We need to identify with the inhabitants of the strange new lands that authors create, to recognise the familiar that’s hidden just beneath the surface so we can understand the fights, disasters and dangers the characters find themselves facing.
The appeal in fantasy is the way things are never quite what they seem.
An ordinary mortal may turn out to be the greatest wizard, domestic animals may prove to be telepathic guides, and even the landscape and nature can and does conceal its true identity behind a normal-seeming facade. From caverns and secret tunnels hidden within mountains to sentient trees and talking insects, fantasy fiction takes the familiar and spins it into something new.
The snow this morning transformed the ordinary lane behind my house into an enchanted trail, unfamiliar and mystical.
It reminded me to really look at the world around me, and appreciate the inspiration that’s right on my doorstep.
As Pablo Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”