Friday, 18 February 2011

Fantastic Fantastic Fiction

I went to session 2 of 'Fantastic fiction' and was completely inspired. Talking about where magic fits into story made me think about how magic works for each world. In some you aim a wand and shout a bit of bastard Latin, in others you have to train for years and have huge powers, in others it's just a pushing of the illusion of reality a bit to the left. I love playing with magic in stories, having grown up with The Ship That Flew by Hilda Lewis (wonderful old story, historical now), the C.S.Lewis Narnia Books, The Sword in the Stone by T.H.White etc.

The exercise for this week is: starting with a magical object, write something in a world where magic works. This means I have to define the rules of that magic. I started thinking about traditional 'spells', often rhymed verses that are used to do everything from warding off plague to getting babies to sleep in nursery rhymes; to chants of blessings and curses used in witchcraft across the world. It seems words, like in prayers, are given enormous power. Bizarrely, my children used to chant 'Lemon Jelly Jaffa Cakes' before we got to a car park to get the parking fairy to leave us a space. The power of words seem to be built into our mythology. I was thinking about the words: 'I hope you get cancer'. A lot of people, including me, wouldn't use those words, because they would be uncomfortable, perhaps superstitiously so, in case the words have some power of their own. Some people are hugely comforted by a blessing from a priest. I feel uncomfortable f I don't say 'Be careful' to my husband before he drives off. So I thought it would be fun to write something that reflected that mythology because words written down often carry the power with them. I'll see how it goes.
Meanwhile, I'm homesick again. It's sunny in Devon.


  1. Interesting post. The 'Seeing Things' book, of Oliver Postgate's memoirs, recalls the time when he pitched the idea of 'Pogels Wood', fundementally a Pagan family, living in the woods, caring for the environment, growing their own vegetables and casting spells for good. This was in 1961/2. This was fine with the BBC, providing that he ditched the 'dark witch', who casts evil spells, put there to challenge them! So what did the 3 and 4 year old children who viewed 'Watch with Mother' see? A watered down version of a fundamentally good story. His rules seemed good and kids love a villain. Sorry, seems to have rambled. Bear x

  2. Did you know the first series called the Pogels was released on DVD after the BBC took the series off the air? That's the one with the scary witch in...You must be so old to remember the Pogles.

  3. Old? Old! I am positivly ancient. 50's baby. I have lived in 7 decades. But there is still life in me yet. I loved the Pogels, especially the cat (whose name I cannot remember), but the BBC always seems to put Andy Pandy or the Woodentops on. My first real experience of dissapointment as a 3 or 4 year old. But I have got over it now... mostly.
    Bear x