Mommy, am I a fantasy writer?
Check off this box under things I never thought would happen: being published in a fantasy/science fiction magazine. As usual, I didn’t arrive at this particular milestone via the most direct manner. I had to address some deeply ingrained prejudices first. Everyone has them and that’s ok. It’s how you acknowledge them and proceed to live a healthy, well rounded life that counts. It’s a lot of work.
I know (apologies to cover artist Victoria Poyser). Seriously, though, fantasy occupies an especially biased area of my psyche because I am likely reacting against my own basest tendencies. When I started writing poetry it represented pure, indulgent adolescent escapism, and often framed around my experiences watching too much King Arthur-inspired made-for-TV tripe. Oh, and I had spent the better part of my 14th summer reading Richard Adams’ Maia. Honestly, did I have no adult supervision?
But let’s put Freud back in his powder-lined cabinet. There’s good and bad writing in every genre. A lot of it is about how it’s framed. Maybe A Vision of Beasts is a really fine tome indeed. You take that gamble if you want. But these days there are several good journals presenting lovingly crafted speculative fiction, which seems a more-grown-up nomenclature for the same thing, but perhaps helps us rise above ye olde genre bias. Bull Spec, Electric Velocipede — these are a couple excellent sources that immediately come to mind. Add to that the special fantasy/science fiction issue of the always classy poetry magazine Pirene’s Fountain.
There are some poets I recognize, such as the prolific Marc Vincenz. There’s also Peter L. Scacco, who recently appeared in Orion headless, incidentally. Another long-ago contributor to Orion headless is George Bishop. I look forward to reading all the work at his beautifully presented issue and finding out more about the names I don’t know. I’m also honored my, yes, fantasy-inspired poem Who, hero? has found a place there, too.
Are you afflicted by genre bias? You can borrow my Freud if you promise to give him back.