Why build worlds?

I invite worlds
to make themselves visible
in images and words.

That’s another way to say, “I write and illustrate both realistic and speculative fiction.”

It’s a broad range of work, especially when you throw in painting and poetry. What questions hold my work together? What puzzles do I return to again and again, in novel and picture book, poetry and paint, fantasy and real-life adventure? Here are a few:

Borderlands: the boundaries between what we know and don’t know, between science and myth, reality and fantasy. What is real? What is true…and in what sense? For a conversation about the uses of realistic vs. speculative fiction, click here.

The Gate: the door through which the Unseen and Unnamed—for us humans, what is unnamed has no being yet—emerges to be clothed in metaphor and become the Seen and Named.  Artists and writers “listen at the Gate.”

Cultures: the frames, metaphors, and expectations in which we incarnate what pours toward us, endlessly, out of the Gate.

Conversation: in the bewildering universe, how we stumble along compassionately with one another.

Walks in the desert: off-trail, in unimportant places, where the marks of human culture are slight: little rabbit footprints in the wilderness of deep time. For posts about desert walks, click here.



All material on this site, both text and graphics, is ©Betsy James, and may not be used commercially without her permission.

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Betsy James on Writing, Art, and Walking in the Desert

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