Epic Meme Saturday: In a Land Far, Far Away

Well, in my most learned and delectable mind, I think that a favorite setting means a place where I would want to live. (Please note how I conveniently twist it to mean something that I want!) Oh, of all the places I would love to live! Narnia, the Enchanted Forest, Middle-Earth, Prydain, Al-Amarna, The Old-Kingdom…. Actually, not the old kingdom, too many undead there!

There are so many beautiful and wonderful worlds that would be a joy to see. Yet the one I have read that is the most beautifully described is a place called Mistawis. It is a land of mystery and enchantment, where raised eyebrows mean the end of the world (though occasionally the world keeps on spinning despite the eyebrows), cardinal flowers lighten the swamp like ribbons of flame, and islands appear as amethysts. Here a mysterious man is found with crocked eyebrows and a dark past.

Ooh, the possibility gives me the shivers! But this land of deep magic has dangers, evil men who would kidnap the fair maiden from her first dance, a cruel mother whose petty tasks might cause her daughter much suffering… oh, all the traits of a true fairy tale!

But it isn’t. The Mistawis is a real place, in Ontario Canada. Sounds prosaic, right?! (Well, don’t google it for images, I did and I was very disappointed. They had only a few of actual scenery!) But the Mistawis, as seen through the eyes of Valency Jane Stirling Snaith from L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle is that Land of Enchantment where strange and wonderful beauty lies just ahead and ever under her fingertips. If you have the eyes to see it.

Yes, there are many places described by books that I would like to see, but only here would I want to live.


8 thoughts on “Epic Meme Saturday: In a Land Far, Far Away

  1. Wonderful. To describe those places we love, well, can be as magical or moreso than those from our imagination. I my writing, I try to weave the two together, for I have come to realize that the beauty I know personally is a better source for creating beauty than anything else within me.

  2. Someone famous once said that you can only write what you know about. I have never been to the Mistawis or the Muskoka (which are called The Outback in Canada! isn’t that wonderful!?) But I would like to some day, and then I will paint them!

    • I don’t know where that phrase originated, but “write what you know” has become standard (and good) advice for all writers. It took me a while to figure out how that could apply to fantasy writing, but it does.

  3. Love The Blue Castle. Another book landscape I’ve come to love is Gene Stratton Porter’s Limberlost. In the 90’s my travels on business took me to the area and it was heartbreaking to go and realize that that beautiful wetland is gone forever. Porter makes no bones about this in her books, of course, but still…

  4. Ah, a book recommendation! Love those. *adds “The Blue Castle” to perpetually-growing list*

    This discussion does make me reflect on how good writing can make even a real, “mundane” place seem magical. Or not so much “seem” in the sense of faking it, but rather opening one’s eyes to the magic that God built into it, but that we tend to miss. Of course this is one of the joys of historical fiction: I remember reading a short story by Kipling where he described Lahore, Pakistan with such detail and atmosphere that it felt like a ghost city out of a fairy tale, but all the ghostlier for its tangible reality. Likewise, there’s a series of modern/urban fantasy stories I’m writing set loosely where I live, and it’s making me rethink the landscapes and cities that are mundane to me.

  5. Pingback: Conclusion « Egotist's Club

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