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

2015.06.14 | Avoiding the sun in  JiaYuGuan, Gansu Province, PRC

2015.06.14 | Avoiding the sun in JiaYuGuan, Gansu Province, PRC

That said, I’d sooner choose New Shangria-La, New New Mars that has been colonized at the end of the universe – maybe even in a bubble universe, in a parallel timeline off by 0.275349.

When a child first catches adults out – when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just – his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine.

And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Water dripping on Howl

2015.06.23 | Howl’s last [full] day in Sunhe, Chaoyang District, Beijing, PRC