Raphi SolarshOne of my favourite books as a child was a story called Tonio and the Mountain Trolls. It’s about a young boy who discovers a set of enchanted gem stones, that when placed in certain patterns magically produce a music that brings his imagination to life. As an adult I have found words to hold the same special power and sense of magic for me. The written word is something so simple, it is uncomplicated and unyielding, only black words on a white page but limitless in the ideas, stories and emotions that can be created with them. There is no-where to hide on a page, no judgement, only the means to find expression for the deepest truths of one’s self and one’s place in the world. It is those truths that I seek in the stories I tell and those truths which I believe cannot be brought into existence by any other gateway than the human imagination. An imagination that seems to be so quickly disappearing from a world that values it less and less, instead preferring to trust form over substance, the explicit over the implied, the certain over the abstract, the carefully defined over endless possibility.

Words have always been the means to self-awareness in times when the pursuit of self, truth and meaning are considered secondary to the pursuit of empty symbols of success and comforts that sooth only the desire to take risks in the pursuit of an individual happiness that lies outside of the formal bounds that have grown to consume almost everything. Words are beautiful and just like the stones from the story of my childhood, are capable of producing a kind of magical music that speaks to something inside us that defies expression. That music is a poem, a story, a book. The stories I love to write are of outsiders, iconoclasts and the experiences that I believe take people past the contrived illusion of normality. The driving question is always “why?” and in seeking the answers there should be no tolerance for anything but honesty.

I passed the first twenty odd years of my life in a stilted state of self-delusion, trying to find my place in a world that constantly seemed incomplete. I did all the normal things one is meant to do, I went to university, I travelled, I worked, I made friends, I lost friends, constantly trying to find a sense of passion and purpose. But it never came. Through five years of a law degree, I waited, telling myself that the drive was only around the corner. I started feeling like there was something wrong with me for not wanting all the things that all those around me pursued with the single mindedness of the self-evident. All the while the desire to write was there, but I dismissed it, for a long time, as a childish fantasy that had no place in the cold reality of the “real world”. It was only an excuse, a trick of my mind, to avoid entering the next stage of my life. But it would not go away and I am deeply thankful that it did not, because it has become an indivisible part of my life. Where the desire to write takes me from here I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out.