July 12, 2018 in Dag

I write fantastical autobiographical fiction

Would it sound a little strange if I claimed my stories were autobiographical?

I think any readers (and I know there are a few of you out there) will immediately claim that I’m telling a load of pork pies. How can my stories be autobiographical. I write stories about people who fall off the world, or push the world out of shape, or drown in a sea of words. Surely, none of that stuff has ever happened to me.

I suppose those objectors do have a point. I wouldn’t be sticking strictly to the truth if I claimed I’d directly experienced the kinds of things that befall my good friend Neville Lansdowne in my novellas, Doodling, Scribbling, and Scrawling. I’ve never literally fallen off the world, or pushed the world out of shape, or drowned in a sea of words.

But there’s more to it than that. Each of those stories is about a kind of feeling. A feeling that the world is moving so fast it’s becoming too difficult to keep up, or a feeling that the world is just the wrong shape for me to do all the things I want to do, or a feeling that I can’t handle all the words flying about around me. And I can tell you 100% that I have felt each of those. It was those feelings that inspired the stories in the first place. So while Neville’s adventures feel pretty fanciful, they’re all based on very real feelings and experiences.

I could express similar points for many of my other stories. Like the Tiger-Turtle in Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle, I’ve often wished I could be a more exciting figure. Like Maddie in Maddie’s Monsters, I’ve had my share of invisible playmates. Like Magnus in Magnus Opum, I explore the world in a wide-eyed way, constantly finding that my preconceptions are incorrect and having to adjust my views.

I could go on. Everything I’ve written has some kind of real-life base, whether it’s from something that actually happened to me, or some kind of thought or emotion that affected me strongly. So, in a very real way, all of my stories evolve from a very firm base of fact. They all reflect some sort of autobiographical truth in some way. They just do it in a way that is wholly fantastical.

And isn’t that the best part of being a writer?

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