The Call Of The Mild

I feel that one should never presume upon the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief.  As a fabulist, I ask my reader to accept much that is unbelievable.  I know that I am asking a lot, and I do try to make the burden of disbelief as light as possible.

To that end I make a point of limiting that which is counterfactual in my work to those things required by the conceit (in the poetic sense) in which I work.  The root of surrealist is “realist” and higher reality must have deep and abiding roots within the quotidian, else it shall not stand.

This means that if I write about men with wings and my reader is willing to grant me the wings, I am obligated to write the men as manlike as I can manage, to ease the burden of believing both in wings and in men whose nature is more rarefied than those with whom my reader may be acquainted.

William Blake once remarked that when painting an apparition or a phantasm the painter must lend the subject the greatest gravity of detail, that the fantastic must be portrayed as more solid and thus more real than realism.

It is a lesson that I take to heart.  In the fantastic there is always the risk of a spurious levity wafting the subject away, and it must be firmly affixed to the real with chains of mundane gravity.

Men without wings have more freedom to be cavalier than the winged variety.  Extraordinary creatures must lead the most ordinary lives.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in On Writing, Who I am, Worms Of Heaven and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Call Of The Mild

  1. L. Marie says:

    I like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies because they’re so grounded in realism. He helped us believe that a reasonable man would dress up as a bat and fight crime. But I also appreciate the fantasy writer who makes the fantastic details plausible.

  2. The Hook says:

    “Extraordinary creatures must lead the most ordinary lives.”
    I love that line.
    Well done.

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