Where did it start – this random, fascination with all (well most) things fantastical? The answer for me lies way back. When I was a lad my dad used to pilot the rescue boat for a local sailing club in over East Sussex, England. Most Saturdays and Sundays I accompanied him (whatever the weather), assisting stranded and capsized racing crew, and running the soaked survivors ashore for a quick hot toddy and pat on the back. We went out in some pretty feisty seas. Many a time force-niners’ cuffed the clinker built fishing craft to and fro, and sprayed salt in my face. Needless to add, I loved it!
But what has all this maritime adventure to do with books, reading and especially fantasy you ask? The answer is everything. Whilst I was on that rescue boat my imagination would run wild, every hour was an adventure, and my wandering, wondering mind roamed free. During most trips I would have a faded damp copy of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ clutched in my icy fingers. I never noticed the heaving deck, crashing rollers, driving wind and hail, because I was with Frodo and Sam aiding their escape from the Black Riders. For me it has ever been thus – Boat Dreams. My best friend, Captain John Borden and his lovely wife, Carole run http://aqua-safaris.com Captain John is a veteran sailor who is also a writer and musician. Both John and myself are Jimmy Buffet fans, hence the title above (one of his many brilliant tunes.)
I met John in Australia whilst we sailed a brigantine from Sydney out to some remote little islands, home of yelling penquins, Tiger snakes and rock wallabies. The brig ‘Zebu’ – she still resides in Liverpool harbour – is a beautiful craft. A former Baltic Trader which was the inspriation for ‘The Starlight Wanderer’ Barin’s ship, which features throughout my Legends of Ansu series.
Aside boats. Last week was an exiting time for me. J.W.Webb, ex soldier, sailor and long haul trucker; now writer and ‘Fantasy Expert,’ was invited to talk about my subject on three radio stations here in the USA. Time for a Big ‘Thank You’ to Frankie Boyer from ‘The Frankie Boyer Show’, Orv Graham, from ‘Sunday Morning Easy’, way up in Illinois; and finally to my new pals Larry and Robin from WOCA AM, down there in sunny Ocala FL. These were fun gigs! It’s great discussing stuff you’re passionate about to enthusiastic, witty and very professional hosts. The main subject of discussion was ‘Where does fantasy come from?’ This is something I’ve hinted at in a previous blog. There are many answers, as I think stories and daydreams are always with us. Tapping our source: Welsh bards called it the ‘awen’ – that magical moment when the music finds the musician, the painting speaks out to the artist, and the words smile back at the writer.
We all draw our ‘awen’ from somewhere. For me back then it was whilst sailing amidst Boat Dreams. The oceans are vast but our imaginations greater still. Sail away! J.W.W.