Happy new year, everyone.
Of course it may not be your new year, but it is New Year for my people. It is the start of the Year of Sai Candre which is a year governed by the Angel of the Moon, who rules dreams and imagination. Since I am currently working on a book that is all about the margins of dreams and (apparent) wakefulness, I find this a very good sign.
Just before the new year we had the Super Moon, the brightest and largest-seeming moon for 18 years (when the moon is closest to this planet on her orbit and is full at the same time). For this to happen on the last day of the year, preceding a Year of Sai Candre must be very rare indeed – millennia rare.
I just read a remark published by a French light-game designer:
“Don’t write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don’t have a clue what that’s like. Talk about yourself, your life, your emotions, the people around you, what you like, what you hate – this is how the industry will make a huge step forwards. I’m fed up with space marines.”
I thought well, yes. Since few active creators today have fought in your first world war, and none in your crusades or any other of your interminable conflicts of preceding centuries – since none of you have been mediaeval courtiers or ronin or indeed space marines, that does seem to lock up most possibilities for games and literature, doesn’t it?
“Write about what you know” seems to be the constant advice given to writers. I have to say that while I don’t give a sour lemon for most of this advice, I do try to write about what I know. Not that I have ever hijacked a space-craft or fought schizomorphic aliens (beyond the very occasional piece of name-calling in less enlightened moments), but I do write about the kind of people I know – blondes and brunettes from reasonably traditional intemorphic societies.
I have spent a long time in this world, but I do not feel any closer to understanding it. Not understanding it in a writers way. I am sure I could pass exams on Tellurian Life and History. I know more about it than a good many Tellurians. But despite having lived here, it remains to me a purely academic subject. I still can’t really understand how men/women people think or why they do the things they do. I couldn’t write them remotely convincingly.
So I stick to what I know in that respect – and in that respect I think the advice is good. But beyond that respect I let my imagination flow. That is what imagination is for.
Which is one reason I find this Year of Sai Candre so exciting.
May it be good to you.