Write What You Fear

WUhL4Up (1)

Tadpoles swim through a forest of lilypad stalks in Vancouver, Canada.


I suppose you never know what will make you want to write a story.

I have a long-standing fear of natural bodies of water (especially if I can’t see the bottom, or if it’s even slightly murky, or if there might be things living in it, or if there’s any chance something may have slithered in with the latest rain, or if there’s any vegetation that might brush against my foot…and sometimes if there’s too much soap in the bath). Most of my worst dreams feature various monstery creatures of the depths coming up through the water as I try to wobble across a few stepping stones or worse, struggle to get out of the water in time. Sometimes it’s even plain-old swimming pools, but I never stop to wonder how the crocodile/shark/leviathan is faring in the chlorine.

Aside from that, I do miss the water. I love underwater photography and mermaids and Atlantis and sunken treasure stories. When people ask what my ideal super-power would be, it’s always related to growing gills and fins and looking good in shell-themed lingerie. I swam on the local swim-team for years as a kid so I’ve never been particularly afraid of drowning, but I’ve always hated sharing the water with whatever other things might be wriggling around in it. And if those things have the capacity to swish mysteriously against the arch of my foot and then disappear back into the depths to lurk…Nope.

I love this picture, though. Something about it makes me want to write really, super badly. There’s something very Star Wars about it–funky, bulbous things appearing to fly through a forest of tall skinny trees. Endor, maybe? Or maybe Land Before Time. My fellow ’80’s babies know what I’m talking about.

At any rate, I’ve been stewing on a new story. I’ve always wanted to write one of those no-holds-barred fantasies–something rife with the unapologetic use of fairies, fauns, monsters, pan flutes, and enchanted forests with unicorns running beneath skies filled with cloud mermaids and flocks of pegasi. Don’t judge. I may end up folding this image in with my new story, which as yet is only as magical as an unlikely (yet strangely predictable) friendship between a little boy with ram horns and and a human girl who plays her violin to invite him out of his home in the enchanted forest that borders her backyard. Kind of a backwards Pied Piper thing, but less macabre.

More updates on that later, though. Stay tuned for cloud mermaids.


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