“Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”
― George R.R. Martin
I used to believe in this statement. Not any more.
(The first part, I mean. I am a die-hard crusader for fantasy fiction. Period.)
The last three months have been quite eventful for me. I discovered that I am ending up doing things I had never imagined myself doing ever. I have stumbled upon Joycean epiphanies in unexpected corners, which have both made and marred my joy. Mostly, I have been happy, and hence, I am not complaining.
From fabulously spun yarns to pretty castles in the air, from whispers that I chanced to hear to the seeming matters of consequence that I was prodded about, I conclude that grown-ups are an amusing species.
And that reality and fiction are too close to be separated. I had no doubts about it, but this time what I experienced was too direct. I did not expect that things can be so similar. That reality can turn out to be so fantastic and fiction so real.
Do dreams really become smaller? If taken literally, yes. But what about the joy that comes with it? Isn’t it the philosopher’s stone that changes the drab colours of reality into gold and azure? Is it the length of the shadow that falls between the idea and the reality that makes the dreams smaller? But that’s for hollow men, who perhaps have a wrong vision. When the sun is at its peak, the shadow disappears. The elation itself turns the dreary parking garage into the ancient ruins of a vanquished fortress. Glimmers of fantasy are already entwined in reality.
Sadly, the reverse is true as well. The wings did melt. And Icarus fell.