by Grant Smuts

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”

-Neil Gaiman

It’s a curious sensation. That feeling of a dream, that sense of waking up and wondering if you’re still dreaming. That moment when you question if what you dreamed was more real than the life you lived, if the life you lived could ever be as vivid as what you imagined, as what you saw in the yawning chasms of your subconscious. I know some might flinch from the darkness their otherwise hidden natures might reveal, but I’m fascinated by it, by what desires are shrouded by my fears and masked by my inhibitions. I like to think that they manifest somehow in my stories. That whatever rage, or crushing nihilism, or more terrifyingly, hope and idealism and longing for better things comes through in my characters, in the world of Amarith – my world.

In many ways, I have allowed myself to be more honest there, not afraid of letting my truth show itself. So often we adopt these masks, these personas, that I feel we become them, to some extent, and lose an essential part of ourselves in the brutal monotone of day-to-day living.

What is it that lies at the essence of one’s heart?
It’s a question that many can’t answer, and I might be deluding myself into thinking that I might have as well. For instance, my insistence on a certain fatalism and helplessness in the universe might be a mutated desire for a sense of purpose. We are, after all, fumbling for meaning and happiness in the world – there’s a certain clarity the idea of destiny lends itself to our lives. For me, I believed it was my destiny to be an author… and I certainly did whatever I could to achieve that goal. Does the idea of destiny cheapen my efforts, or lend it strength? So much of my life and future is still uncertain, as is the answer to that very question. For now, though, I don’t think the answer matters very much to me.

Today, I hold my book in my hands, and it feels right. It feels like years of writing, justified, vindicated.

It also feels like a beginning.

Right now, my novel has very limited distribution, but I hope to make it available to a wider range of people across the world. I hope to invite them to my own world, to walk in places where gods lie dreaming, to walk with me, in Amarith.

a book and its boy