I grew up in the worlds of Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, and Prydain. I knew the mythologies of these imaginary universes better than those of my own reality. I thought I could fight injustice with a sword, commune with plants and animals, and perform powerful incantations. I waited patiently for an adventure to sweep me up. I never happened upon an interdimensional wardrobe, but because I looked for magic, I found it all around me. Sometimes, as I roamed through the woods, or lay in bed listening to the rain pound down, I was sharply aware of some underlying rhythm. I was aware of a tenuous mystery I could feel but never explain. As I got older, the distance between me and the fantasy worlds of my childhood grew until these vague moments were the only kind of magic I managed to hold onto. I still want to believe in magic. I think that is in part why I write. But unlike my younger self, I am inclined to filter my magical experiences through the encumbering lens of logic and language. My writing concerns itself with attempting to reconcile the unexplainable with the rational. Often I find I do this best by harnessing the power of passionate emotion.
I feel like English does a poor job accommodating the contradictions that are an inherent part of the human experience. This has driven me to pair words together in unconventional, occasionally uncomfortable ways, to appeal to the visceral rather than analytical pieces of my readers’ brains. One of my favorite poets, Federico García Lorca, does this marvelously. Though on an intellectual level I haven't managed to decode the “meaning” of his poems, they are still so vibrant. With the quiet intimacy of his imagery, he manages to invoke duende, a Spanish concept meaning something akin to passionate inspiration. I have searched for this duende in my writing, and I've found it in both the epic and the ordinary. Duende is so beautifully undefinable, unpredictable, that I have come to the conclusion that it must be magic. A magic that cannot be described, only felt.
I want my readers to feel the small moments in my stories just as much as the big ones. I long to capture that particular feeling of drinking tea in the rain or of walking through the canned goods aisle in the supermarket, as much as I want to describe a terrible battle or the night sky. Though I am still searching for Lothlorien, I have found my magic in the messy harmony of reality, and I have spent the last few years of my life trying to translate it onto the page.