Friday, 28 May 2010

Guest Post: Merry Muhsman - Why I Write Fantasy?

Why I write fantasy?

First, I want to thank Dolly for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I met Dolly in Margie Lawson’s Empowering Character Emotions Course in March.

Second, my topic today is why I write . . . Fantasy. My love for fantasy stories runs as deep as the lake that swallowed Excalibur. Perhaps, not as colorful as my beloved King Arthur stories, but still a tale nonetheless.

Once upon a time

I grew up on farm in Nebraska where we had one television; it had no remote and four channels. My nearest neighbor was about a mile away, and my older sister thought of me as a nuisance. (She would make me lie down in the back seat while she cruised with her friends around town. I in turn was bribed with a McDonald’s plain hamburger.) My best friend at home was my German Shepherd Duke. Duke was a great listener, never interrupted me and allowed me to speak my mind, craft my stories and imagine myself in a world of knights, dragons and magic.

Life had its limitations

My life could be complicated by limitations. On Saturdays, I got one hour of TV time in the morning (and somehow fit in chores, my mother was articulate with her lists and even drew pictures to show dusting down steps).  Since Saturday was the best day for cartoons, my choices lent themselves to Thundarr the Barbarian and Spider-man and His Amazing Friends. I still am a huge fan of Stan Lee.

Sunday became a time to either read or sit outside and write. No TV. So I sat underneath an old oak tree and composed my story by hand. I still have that notebook. My mother read a novel, while I wrote my story. To this day, she is still my editor. My first fantasy story was eventually typed on a real typewriter, complete with white out tape. A fancy typewriter!

My love for Fantasy was born in Camelot

I have always had a love for King Arthur and Avalon. I fell in love with Mary Stewart and Marion Zimmer Bradley. (Current favorites are Robin Hobb, Jennifer Roberson, Stephen Lawhead, Mercedes Lackey, Morgan Llywelyn and L. Jagi Lamplighter.) They transported me away from my boring life of drinking straight from the garden hose, walking barefoot across the gravel and climbing trees down by the creek. I fell in love with a time that broke all the rules. When I was a child, fantasy had no bounds, no rules, no limits. I have read a few books that tell me that’s not entirely true, but being able to create your own world, your own rules and your own heroes and villains, that was extraordinary. Still is.

At one of my book signings for Peddler’s Trials, a woman came up to me, as her son literally salivated all over my book with excitement. I could tell she was going to be a tough sell for her older daughter’s arms were full of textbooks. They did not come to buy my book, but the son couldn’t tear his eyes off the page and was determined to leave with something for himself. The mother looked at me with dark eyes beneath perfectly plucked brows and asked, “Why do you write fantasy?” I looked at her son and smiled. “When I started, I did it for me. Now, I do it for him.”


  1. I loved Margie's ECE course! It's neat how some people are totally fantasy and others aren't.

  2. I guess some of us just find escapism too irresistible. :-)

    Laura, thanks for stopping by.

  3. “Why do you write fantasy?” I looked at her son and smiled. “When I started, I did it for me. Now, I do it for him.”

    Great answer!

    I'm a big time fantasy fan myself and you've named many of my favourite authors, and I adored Thundarr The Barbarian. :-)

    I'm also a devotee of the Arthur legends - Le Morte D'Arthur, Idylls of the King, the Crystal Cave . . .

    Thank you for sharing part of yourself with us, and thank you, Dolly, for inviting her!

  4. Thanks Dolly for inviting me to blog. And thank Laura and CR for the comments. Laura, I have to admit I do enjoy reading historicals and some mysteries, too. But when I'm going on vacation and want to escape, I always reach for fantasy.

    CR, I am amazed someone else knows of Thundarr! Have you ever checked out Merlin on ScyFy channel? It's a great twist on the Arthur legends. Worth checking out!

    Thanks everyone for stopping by!

  5. I remember thinking how my electric typewriter with the correction tape was fancy.

    This post was very enjoyable. It reminded me of my own childhood, when I had no cable, few channels and plenty of books. I believe I was more imaginative back then than I am now.