Fusion Fantasy by Bets Davies
Me and my macaw Willie
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It is tragic. In my childhood room, an entire world has been set up: a carefully created culture for the My Little Ponies that spreads out across the room. By candlelight, main characters sit between my friend and me. We are in the fifth grade. We are already being made fun of for playing with toys. Maybe it is time to put childish things away.
But—the big but!—that if we weren't playing anymore? What if we didn't have to lose all these personalities and creativities we love so much? What if we wrote novels? What if one of us wrote the novel about the characters (but not as, like, My Little Ponies really) that we created all these adventures for, and the other wrote the prequel of all the stuff we made up on how the gods here were made? Brilliant. Adult. Amazing.
Deciding to write a book as a child isn't that unusual. Well, maybe not that usual. The surprising thing is that we both finished. The more surprising thing was that we both groomed the novels through massive rewrites to final edits before recognizing the flaws and moving on to write other novels. I actually scalped and morphed that very first book to create Shining in Darkness. The next two novels I wrote in college were eventually overhauled into Sheep that Stray and Incarnate. Because maybe the weirdest thing is that I'm still doing it.
I grew up in Jackson, Michigan, home of a great symphony, fantastic public parks, Ella Sharp Museum, The Michigan Shakespeare Festival (founding member, thanks), and The Cascades concrete, man made, color changing waterfalls, the founding place of the Republican party, the former home of Ted Nugent, the five happy ending massage parlors, a growing medical (and not) marijuana business, and what was at one time the largest walled prison in the world.
Take what you want from that, because I grew up with the arts listed above and nothing else. I grew up in The Davies House. My parents wanted an Underground Railroad for the artistic, the creative, the eclectic, the liberal and lost. My life was made of chalk drawings, theater, and whoever hung out or even lived there at the moment.
To put things in perspective, I found the hippie East Quad dorm in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s populace stuffy, sheltered, conservative, and normal.
I was so disturbed I actually stopped writing fantasy and spent, from my undergrad days through my MFA at Mills College in creative writing, focused on memoir. The art is quite different from a novel with a different set of writing skills and expectations that I love.
But I also love fantasy, so I had to come back. I just came back with my memoir skills with me. When I was I kid, my mom let us all play potion. We started with a base—water, tomato juice, mud—and then added to it everything we could possibly think of to make interesting smells and textures—dry ice, various foods, grass, rocks, Play Doh, paint, until we had something cool to play with. I still play potion. Fantasy is the base, but I can't help but pour in elements of memoir skills, poetry, horror, mystery, romance, comedy, and pop culture. If I like it, I dump it in until I have a writing style and a book that are fun to play with. This is how Fusion Fantasy was born.
I do write memoir and poetry as well as fiction. My chapbook, Jonah Journey, is available from my publisher at Platte River Press.
I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan with my sweet baby pit bull Jobi, my sneaky hound mutt Chloe, my half feral and half lap cat Lucy, my macaw Willie—my other half—and my bassoon, Fagotto.
About Bets Davies