Dinosaurs Roam Canberra Rainforest

It takes a LOT to get me walking anywhere, let alone halfway up Black Mountain, which last week looked like this:

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(BYO Child.)

But when I heard there were dinosaurs (on loan from the Dinosaur Museum) lurking in the National Botanic Garden rainforest (and tundra, and desert, etc) I just had to go.

One of the up sides to having children is that they make you bother getting up and doing cool things like this.

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I have an unusually tactless cousin who I rarely see (not because he’s tactless, but because I don’t like him anyway). We caught up at some family event sometime, and I said I write a lot of young adult fantasy. He had two questions about that:

  1. Do you write for young adults because you’ve never grown up?
  2. Do you write fantasy because you can’t deal with normal reality?

To which I say a hearty, “Yes and yes”.

Of course the reality is more complex. I like writing (and reading) YA because it’s fast-paced and exciting, and usually a little less intense in its sex and violence (I can develop a case of PTSD from a single graphic scene). I’m fascinated by themes of self-identity, friendship, family and hard-won independence.

I’m well past the age where I felt like I was only pretending to be an adult. At the same time, a lot of the markers of adulthood have been stolen from me. I have never and almost certainly will never be financially independent (I’ve been chronically ill and/or mentally ill for all of my adult life) and I have some mild brain damage which makes my mind behave a lot like I’m in the early stages of alzheimer’s disease. Along with the other stuff, this often makes me feel like an adult trapped inside a whiny, lazy, angsty, and unreliable teenage reality. So in some ways I really haven’t grown up, and never will. This drives me nuts (and loses me many good friends) but perhaps it’s for the best in the end.

Fantasy is interesting. As a nerd, I love the idea of power coming from the mind of a character rather than (for example) exercise or physical strength. I also find fantasy inspires me to deal with reality because it lends itself to such universal and hopeful themes: Good triumphing over evil despite enormous odds, a despised child becoming the hero and saving their tormentors, etc. After many years of crippling depression, the odds of ever being a healthy or well-balanced person are perilously low. Yet when I first became a mother (something that usually sends sane people mad) I found myself much stronger and more capable than before. How did that happen? Did the Power of Love (TM) really save the day?

Well… yes.

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So you can grow out of fairy tales if you like, but I’ll be here: Still believing.

Apart from anything else, I have my own magic. I create worlds and people our of thin air, with extraordinary ease and (arguably) skill. It might not make me a grown up, but it does make the world better. Which is all I ever really wanted to do.

 

 

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