“Too right.” I nodded vigorously when I saw that slogan in the library window. I thought of all the great books in my life. If reading is the mother of writing, perhaps if I analyse what they have given me, I'll be able to cure that blank computer page and WRITE.
I enjoy my life but I want, need, demand a thousand more. Why else would I have read a million books since I joined the library at the advanced age of three?
So where and who have I been?
“Hang about,” I hear you say. “A really good author can transform any everyday event into something amazing.” Agreed. Ray Bradbury takes a boy changing from his heavy winter shoes to his summer sneakers (trainers) and his whole world, and his place in it, is transformed as he runs, on featherlight feet into the newborn spring, bursting with life and wonder. And we are right there with him. But Bradbury also whisked me away to Mars – the start of a lifetime’s love affair with the unknown and exotic. I’ll never lose the thrill of seeing his majestic sand yachts sweeping across the vast red Martian deserts. Of course, I’ve got a season ticket to Mars. My first time was with Captain John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia, creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame, and sadly best known today for truly awful films. How I envied the Incomparable Dejah Thoris! Around the same time C S Lewis – without his wardrobe – abducted me from Much Nadderby; while on yet another trip I saved the world with Dan Dare, Doc and Lemmy. Great stuff.
I got my lifelong passion for magical creatures, and elves in particular, - and alternative Earths – straight from Tolkien. Later, I realised that his elves and hobbits, wearing different bodies, are much closer to our own values than many humans. Mordor can be anywhere – scary!
Michael Moorcock’s fierce elf-type, Elric, was the natural follow on. My first discovery that a ‘hero’ can be unburdened by fine ideals or love.
Time to move on and get my imagination pulling MY wagon.
I’ve travelled round the Earth (another story) and the Universe just to get back where I started – Mars. Fact not fiction and waiting to be written. The aptly named probe, Curiosity – I could tell it a tale or two – has boldly gone Out There to seek Truths, new and ancient. Ice crystals and microbial life may not be as beautiful as sand yachts but who says they are not clues, more fascinating than The Da Vinci Code, waiting to blow away the really important questions – where we came from; where do we go next?
It's a real challenge. You, gentle lady readers, currently earth-bound and besotted by a 100 year old immortal, no longer have to pretend to be men to get published. Will you be the ones to pick up Tolkien’s Torch?
Or perhaps it'll be me.
Next step? Quit reminiscing; pocket Hitch-hikers’ Guide and take off for A Year on Alpha Proxima. That should be long enough for a bestseller. Watch me fly!