My three favorite questions are “What if?”, “Why?” and “Why not?”
The Sense of Wonder tends to be my default state. It has caused some folks to question my maturity, as I’m easily distracted by all the stuff that most folks don’t bother themselves to notice at all.
Maybe I suffer from the same curse as both Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser in Fritz Leiber’s novella, The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars. Due to this titular curse, the Mouser became helplessly obsessed with the minutiae at his feet while Fafhrd was forced to cast his own gaze up into the heavens.
Like the Mouser, I’m drawn to the tiny patterns that comprise our physical world. Like Fafhrd, I stare up into the sky at the stars at night and at the clouds during the day. The files of digital photos I’ve taken of clouds in quickly closing in on 100,000.
It thrills me to know that whatever can happen in my created worlds is limited only by my imagination, unlike this stifling, hobbling milieu we collectively call ‘reality’. When I was a little kid it felt like I’d been plucked out of a Greater Reality and stuffed into a box as punishment for some secret transgression, shut away in stuffy darkness with only a pinhole to peek through to experience the rest of the Universe.
Wonder is the tool I use to carve the pinhole bigger, big enough to crawl through to freedom. Wonder is why I’ve chosen fantasy — being the least tyrannical — as the genre for my stories. Wonder is why I read fantasy, mythology, and folklore.
Far beyond mere escapism, fantasy allows for the endless expansion of possibilities.