“Tristran walked through the gap, with the stone wall on each side of him, into the meadow on the other side of the wall. Turning, he looked back at the three men, framed by the gap, and wondered why they had allowed him through.” – Stardust, Neil Gaiman.
Journeys begin with a step, in quest fantasy, journeys begin when the protagonist embarks on an adventure leaving the world they know heading towards the unknown. Leaving the safety of your home, the shire, or your small provincial town is, if you are like me, both terrifying and exciting. From a young age, this journey has been an obsession. My mother, to this day, will complain about how many times she needed to read Goldilocks and the Three Bears before I fell asleep. Something about Goldilocks (breaking and entering and stealing tendencies aside) triggered a sense of trying something until it suited you. That having different preferences wasn’t terrible and seeking out the special desire was acceptable.
Side note: Don’t mention the Three Little Kittens either, she was grateful when I moved on from that one. (I, occasionally, sport a t-shirt proclaiming “raise the minimum wage for kittens” because mittens, obviously, “don’t wash themselves”. Perhaps occasionally is an understatement, it’s in the weekly shirt rotation.)
But journeys don’t have to be terrifying, the quest story offers suspense, delight, and allows for the question of the status quo. In Gaiman’s Stardust, the opening line reads: “There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.” This genre creates growth by forcing the character from their comfort zone. Some journeys are voluntary other’s are forced upon us, but as the proverb states, it’s the journey, not the destination that matters. Tristran passed through the gap in the Wall searching for a fallen star but discovered much more.
My journey or the journey of my stories is about to begin, and for them, this is their first step. Here they will leave the confines of the word document or notebook, to experience a wider world. This adventure is both exciting and obscure but I look forward to sharing my scribbles, stories, and characters with you. We embark on a journey with no end in sight but if there’s one thing I know for sure there will always be an adventure and a good cup of tea.