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Excerpt from "A Blue House"

From Élisabeth Vonarburg:



(...) [in 1966, I'd been] writing science fiction in my closet for a year, ever since the Big Meaningful Dream from which had sprung, almost fully-dressed, a galoping, multi-generational science fiction saga which would become the five books of my series Tyranaël more than thirty years later. It was a very simple dream. In the daily diary I kept that last year at home and dropped after a few months at the university, utterly bored and depressed by my so-called real life, I wrote only two lines about this dream, and to this day I have no recollection of its images : words are all that are left of it. "A huge planet, entirely covered twice a year by a universal tide, during a universal eclipse, but nobody dies."

Though my journal says nothing of that dream afterwards and I don't remember exactly how things evolved from there, I very soon had a canvas of stand-alone but interlinked stories all contributing to an overarching storyline - from the very beginning, I thought big. I began to draw maps and invent various languages, creatures, societies, and two whole planets. The entire story was there from the beginning. Details changed over time, of course, as I came to understand more and more about it, myself and the craft of writing. Of the two thousand pages I wrote and rewrote obsessively for ten years, only two hundred have passed without modifications from one draft to the next. But the basic impulse never changed, the original design, the original need. And in some way, everything I have written since (and will ever write, I am beginning to suspect), is inscribed in that ur-story. (...)

Excerpt from "A Blue House", autobiographical essay,
From Contemporary Authors, by Scot Peacock,
Vol. 208, Gale, 2003
© 2003, the Gale Group.
Reprinted by permission of the Gale Group.
Updated