28 November 2007


Charles DeLint is one of my favorite authors. He's a Canadian fella, and I want to live in the city he writes about. His complete literary works are listed on his website. If you've never picked up anything of his, I highly recommend it. Just don't start with Onion Girl, because you'll be completely lost. All the rest of the novels stand well on their own.

He writes what he calls Mythic Fiction. Yes, this is fantasy, but it isn't ever really about a world far away. Rather, he writes about a world, our world, with a small twist. His characters sometimes have psychic perceptions, but mostly I think about his writing as the world that exists at the corners of our eyes. You know how you see something fantastic out of the corner of your eye, and when you turn to look, whatever you thought you saw is something completely ordinary?

Happens to me all the time...it is my imagination, which I like to think is still as active as a child's.

DeLint has a story about Balloon Men, which look like those myriad plastic grocery bags blowing around in the wind that litter our whole planet. When you aren't paying complete attention, all you see is the plastic bag rolling around.

The rain of the last few days has dried up, and we had a very windy day on Tuesday. Leaves, some of the last of the season, swirl in the wind in tiny vortexes, like eddies in a river current. At the end of the fall, the last leaves that litter the ground are brown, unlike the extraordinary colors we see earlier in the season. The uniformity of color is not matched by uniformity of size and shape. So these swirls of leaves look like little animals or perhaps one of the fey when you catch them out of the corner of your eye.

The first time I noticed them was driving in the car, and for a brief moment I thought that something was about to run in front of the vehicle. It was broad daylight, and I actually tapped the brakes before I realized that it was only leaves. Since I wasn't on a busy byway, I slowed the car to watch the wind pick up and gather these groups of leaves, and then scatter them again with the next gust.

If I was a talented writer, I'd find some way to weave those leafy beasts into a short story. Instead, I imagine what they might be.

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