Monday, June 20, 2011

Dr. Seuss, Caterpiller Tanks and Writing From a Place of Wonder

I think it was Dr. Seuss who said, “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope.” I love that quote, and it sounds like Dr. Seuss. So what does it mean to look at life through the wrong end of the telescope? As a writer, I think it means more than just making something big, changing its color or making it small. I’ve done that–and love it–but simply super-sizing the critter or creature will only take the story so far. I like to play with the creature's purpose. Its sense of self. Take this guy*, for example:

He looks reasonably well-armored, so if I were to super-size him I’d make him a tank. In fact, I’m hoping I’ll have a tank just like him if there’s ever a sequel to 13 Demon Days. It seems like just the vehicle for a super-subversive mission into a demon world, don’t you think? And I believe this little white grub would be pretty happy with his new role as a tank, too. Maybe that’s what Dr. Seuss meant by fantasy being a part of living. That there’s more to seeing than just sizing a thing up and slapping on a label. There’s also the need to make a leap from our limited set of experiences to that of those creatures or things which brush elbows with our lives. And in doing so, the parameters of our understanding are pushed out a bit. Which is pretty fantastic, when you think about it!

*Thanks to Homeschooling Happy Honeybee for the found pic!

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