Tag Archives: fantasy vs real world

Why I believe in magic and fairytales at age 21

By Claire W. Staley

When one turns 21, as I did recently, one is expected to indulge in the “adult” practices of alcohol, practicality, and business meetings. After all, I am no longer a teenager (which brought on a brief existential crisis at 20), and I am far beyond the time when I believed fairies existed under each flower petal and mermaids swam in the oceans (although I’m still not prepared to give up the latter). I am a fully functioning college student beginning to understand financial aid, cooking, and her own bedtime…sort of. The fact is, Santa Claus isn’t real, my pet dragon is actually imaginary, and true love’s kiss won’t break any spell.

What confuses me most is that I barely noticed these changes as birthdays passed. I can’t pinpoint the moment when my dolls became plastic instead of people, when I stopped looking for faerie circles in the woods, and when creating my own elven language lost it’s thrill. They just faded away, and I miss the sense of adventure they brought to my life. I miss the way it made anything exciting and created a world that only I could see. Something I could understand.

And now I have term papers and tests and loud dorm mates that make me question my belief in not killing people. My willpower against the latter prevails.

However, as I was rereading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time, I realized something. Perhaps my way to find magic had just changed. There was certainly magic in these books, because the magic was happening inside my head and I was living it. And that is real. It is a tangible thing to be captivated by a book, to be so entrenched in the story and the characters that you cry and laugh and mourn them, to feel the real and powerful sadness that comes with a certain character dying, to love Isabella in The Pirate of Panther Bay like a sister, and to feel as in love with Augustus Waters as Hazel Grace is (in The Fault in Our Stars).

Perhaps, as an adult, magic has just changed. And who knows, really, if there are fairies underneath flower petals. They wouldn’t let us see them anyway, so does it matter? Perhaps I should just remember that not everything in the world needs or wants an answer. And perhaps I am quite happy with filling that space with this particular kind of magic.

It’s way more fun for the world to have magic in it anyway. So who cares if there is or there isn’t any. I’m happy just believing that I can be flown on a dragon to a pirate ship in another world.

Like what your read? We'll make it easy for you to share....

Why Little People are Central to “St. Nic, Inc.” (No spoilers!)

All my novels grapple with the problems of diversity, tolerance, ethnicity and social justice in some substantive and meaningful way, although always in the context of the story; they are not lectures. In The Pirate of Panther Bay, for example, Isabella is an escaped slave who captains a pirate ship. She has to deal with her own identity and coming of age as a women in a violent, male dominated profession (pirating) and the racism that pervaded the plantation and extraction economies of the world during the 18th century.

So, as I continued to think through the mythology of elves and Santa Claus for the back story in St. Nic, Inc., I began to reflect on little people and dwarves. For some reason which I still don’t completely recall–writing is a process, not a moment in time–I became particularly annoyed by the fact little people were almost always depicted in stereotyped roles in popular culture, particularly movies–munchkins, elves, what have you. But I knew that little people have the same abilities and capabilities as average-sized peopled. Why didn’t we see more of that? So, I began to revise my thinking about little people and elves and thought this might be an opportunity to address issues such as inclusiveness, fairness, prejudice–social justice–through my story. So, the book has several passages that directly confront conventional stereotypes about little people and contrast them with the “reality” of the North Pole in St. Nic, Inc. I am particularly fond of a coffee shop scene in Chapter 10 between an average sized person and a little person, and a very poignant dialogue between two average-sized people on dwarfism and human dignity in Chapter 24.

Read more about the role of little people in St. Nic, Inc. by clicking here:

For more on little people, check out the Little People of America (LPA) website here.

To watch the St. Nic, Inc. trailer, click here.

To buy St. Nic, Inc., click here and help out LPA at the same time!

Like what your read? We'll make it easy for you to share....