Walking Strange Roads
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last year is, what kind of writer am I? A lot of writers have their niche, their personal domain in the imaginary landscape of our writerly realms. When you think of Laurell K. Hamilton or Charlaine Harris or Kresley Cole, you know right away where they make themselves comfy in the grand scheme of storytelling. They have familiar themes and moods, characters with signature style, worlds with well-known structure. I’ve been taking a look at my work lately and wondering, “Where will I make my demense?”
(“Demesne”, as defined by Merriam-Webster: (Def 3) — the land attached to a mansion; landed property or estate; region or territory)
When I started my VIP Reader Group, the Strange Wayfarers (a nickname I also extend to you, dear reader), I posted the group cover photo with the description, “Walking strange roads.” I think I came up with this little nugget from a quote I learned in high school, one that really, really spoke to me, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses: “et ignotas animum dimittit in artes, naturamque nouat”. Translated, it means, “to arts unknown he bends his wits, and alters nature”. The quote refers to the myth of Daedalus, the father of Icarus, as he crafts the wings that will carry his son to the sky. Though it refers to the art of creative invention, to me it always sounded like a kind of magic. Casting out one’s spirit into the “unknown arts”, and “altering nature”. It’s very witchy, in a way. It’s about defiance. It’s about creation. It’s about adventure and chance.
It’s also a fantastic way to describe the art of writing, at least as far as I experience it. When I sit down to write, it’s a bit like casting myself into the unknown, the strange, the magical. And everything I write does have a bit of strange magic in it, after all, from my mutinous bastard demons in The Books of Blood and Fire, to my broken porcelain lady in His Cemetery Doll, to my witchy cowgirl Serenity in The Dark Roads Saga. All of my worlds are touched—and yes, even connected—by that strange magic. When I walk through them—and when I lead you, dear wayfarer, through them—we walk those strange roads together, into the arts unknown, where reality and nature bend. There we find the fantastic and the weird, the sparkle and shadow of mysterious lands and wandering beasts. There, we find magic for ourselves.
So I suppose that’s where I make my demesne in the literary landscape. My place is on strange roads in between, where the magic is a little twisted and a little bent, and the adventures are long and full of intrigue.
Thank you for walking these strange roads with me, Wayfarer. They’ll lead us somewhere wonderful, I know.