A good friend asked me the other day if I thought about Elfquest all the time. She wanted to know if the world of Two Moons was sort of “overlayed” on ordinary reality, so that I always saw two worlds at once.
What a great question.
When you build a detailed fantasy universe and carry it around in your head for years and years, it’s easy for others to suppose that you prefer to live in that universe all the time. How wonderful it must be, they think, to escape whenever you want to a world of your own making, where dreams come true just as you envision them. But the truth is, without ordinary reality…that is to say everyday life…to stimulate and inspire you, you have no basis for building an “otherworld” that is believable.
No, I told my friend, I don’t think about Cutter, Skywise, Leetah and their earth-like, adopted planet all the time. The characters and their adventures live inside me, in a place where I can close the door, so I can keep all my senses open to whatever this Earth has to offer. Then, when I see or hear something that excites me, that inner door creeps open and Skywise or some other character will peek out and say, “Use that!” That’s how it works. That’s where the ideas come from.
I think my major motive for being an artist/writer is not to “escape,” but to try to make sense of whatever raises resistance in my warrior spirit. For me, creativity springs from opposition, from having something to push against. My imagination is stimulated by what I see and by what happens around me – particularly things that stand out in high contrast – things that puzzle, confuse, even annoy. Elfquest is my vehicle for expressing what I learn. But how could I do that if I were oblivious to what some call the mundane side of life?
That said, I’m gonna go vacuum the family room, now. Angel tracked in a bunch of sand yesterday – she likes to run in crazy circles in the the sandbox at the park behind the library.
Love to all the thinkers and dreamers and vacuumers out there…