I was daydreaming the other day, and I found myself wishing for a fantasy life. Not the life of a movie star, or a famous rock n' roller, mind you, but a true, honest to goodness fantasy existence. I'm talking The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter here. The lives of the characters who live these stories are more exciting than anything I've seen or heard of in the 'real world.'
Sadly, I probably won't be transported to a magical realm the next time I walk into a wardrobe full of fur coats or jump through a brick wall onto a train. And I doubt Gandalf is going to walk through my door anytime soon. So, I'm trying to figure out how I can make my life more like that fantasy life I dream of, without having to check out of reality completely. Besides, you never know what quest is waiting for you just around the corner...
This is what I've come up with so far, some of the key components to being a fantasy realm hero:
1.) Get Moving
How It's Done: I've yet to read a story in which the main character sits in the middle of a forest for the entire book, watching the squirrels gather seeds and nuts. The hero is always on the go, traversing the land on horseback, running through winding streets to escape an enemy, dodging spells or swords, or climbing the tallest tower despite an acute fear of heights.
What I Can Do: Now that Ultimate is done for the season, I need to find a new way to keep myself in shape. Luckily, the early darkness of winter days lends an extra air of excitement to dog-walking. I can almost pretend that I'm really making my way into Narnia or Middle Earth on these misty, moonlit nights... almost.
2.) Learn to Defend Yourself
How It's Done: Every hero has enemies, and the struggles of a hero to preserve life and limb in the face of all odds are what make stories exciting. Whether with a sword, a bow and arrow, or a disarming spell, all fantasy characters must find a way to protect what is precious to them - namely, their lives. How long do you think you'd last when faced with a Dark Horde?
What I Can Do: In the past, I've taken classes in martial arts, ranging from karate to tai chi. The YMCA offers courses in kickboxing (cardio kickboxing, that is) that might suit my needs, for the time being. Want to get really authentic? Why not check out the Historical European Martial Arts Club (a.k.a. swords!)?
How It's Done: Have you ever noticed how everyone in a fantasy novel has a speciality? Either your a rogue, a wizard, a talking lion, or that guy who doesn't do much besides crack funny jokes. The message seems to be this: have a skill, or you're out of the Fellowship. And no, knowing how to work the fax machine doesn't count.
What I Can Do: I've got a few handy skills up my sleeve. I'm pretty good at building fires, although my flint-work could do with improvement. I know enough about blacksmithing to forge a rough sword in a pinch. If all else fails, I bet I would make a decent storyteller. Every quest needs a storyteller, right?
Don't forget the corollary to this one: specialize, but don't be an expert. The expert is never the hero of the story. Instead, it's always the newbie, the person who needs to prove him or herself the most. Luckily, I know all there is to know about being a newbie.
By the way, if someone out there needs dangerous artifacts delivered or all-powerful warlocks dispatched, I'm your girl. Whenever you need me, I'll be ready. I've been practicing