A Sense of Scale

I wish that there were more stories about the rich interior lives of garden-dwelling snails and carabid beetles.

I mean this very seriously.

Often when I read I am looking for a sense of wonder, of discovery, of venturing into worlds I could never have imagined if left to my own devices. Whether I look for poetry, mystery, biography or fantasy, I want to feel that prickle at the back of my neck as I see things in a way I have never considered.

The thing is, too often we associate this discovery with grand, world-shaking adventures.

While I enjoy large-scale epics of all kinds, I think that there are equally valuable stories to told about small things, things that fit between the cracks of our lived experiences.

A beetle trying to conceptualize the sky is something that pulls my mind in ways I would normally never think.

It’s not just the size of the inhabitants though.

Too often, grand stories lose the perspective that allows us to relate to and understand the scale of the events.

After the third or the fourth time the universe has blown up and been reversed once again by the hero, it becomes hard to care enough to conceptualize what the universe actually blowing up would look like.

Smaller stories have their own set of pitfalls of becoming so entwined in minutia that it becomes impossible to work out what is or isn’t important.

It’s not that one type of story-telling is better than the other.

It’s that I want a wider range of stories, full of events and insights that make my eyes open in wonder.

I want a grand, world-shaking hero striding across the land.

I want a garden-bound insect trying to eat enough cabbage to reproduce.

I want them both to look up at the sky-

-and be awed.

IMG_1412The sky is always so much larger than the scale we live in

I really am fascinated by carabid beetles and wish there was a much larger branch of story-telling that incorporated them.


For my own take on small versus large stories, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here.

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