Silence.  It’s in silence that I can hear the quiet voice of the story, imagine worlds and characters, and come to love them as if they were real.  Maybe they are!

I especially love the quiet in sun-slanting forests, in the clouds  of the beach sky as they are reflected on wet sand,


The woods at Anam Cara

and in the far-reaching view from hill tops.  I also like the silence in my back yard and in my house.

This summer, in Ireland, I found a unique place to hear the voice of the story: Anam Cara Writers and Artists’ Retreat in the little, windswept village of Eyres, on the Beara Peninsula.  Sue Booth-Forbes calls herself a literary midwife, and the title is apt.  She provides a sweet house with lots of nooks and crannies, cooks nourishing food and even washes your clothes on Friday.  There are five acres to roam while moodling out stories, and your own room for writing them down.

So, fantasy.

In some ways all fiction is fantasy in the broadest sense of that word: that is, it is made up, it isn’t real.   But there is also a kind of writing that includes magic and magical beings, and that is the kind of fantasy I mean here.


Kilarney National Forest, Co. Kerry, Ireland

I am working on two fantasy novels, The Nithing and The Changeling Chronicles.  At least, that is their working titles.  In 2005 my fantasy story, “The Wimblestone,” appeared in Cricket Magazine.

I’ve also written essays and articles on the value of and some of the elements in fantasy stories.  Tolkien wrote the best and most important essay on fantasy, “On Faerie Stories.”   My short general essay on fantasy, published in the Tacoma News Tribune around the time J. K. Rawling’s Harry Potter books were being criticized by fundamentalist Christians as not fit for children, is “The Magic of Faerie Stories.”

I’ve also written about Tolkien’s work.  “Tolkien in Winter” is a short memoir first published in the Tacoma News Tribune.  “Tolkien’s Trees” is longer, more encompassing, and was published in Mallorn, The Journal of the Tolkien Society, in Great Britain.  I love Tolkien’s writing, and I love trees, and so did he, so how could I help but write that article?

On the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

My dear Swiss friend Susanne walking one of the beautiful strands on the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland




  1. Claudia – very impressive – I enjoyed the articles and especially the one on your dad. Also, your writings made me feel relaxed and in a rather dream like state. I couldn’t agree with you more. I am an avid reader and find that reading puts me in a world without trouble and heart ache. It was great to see you again Claudia – I am looking forward to additional publications. Keep it up!!!

    • Aw, Dee, your comments on my writing putting you in a dream-like state made my day. Thank you for that. It was great seeing you the other day — the best part of THAT particular day — and I’m sending you my love.

  2. Lovely article. Though I don’t read/write for comfort. Sometimes art helps you face your demons.

  3. What a pleasure to meet you again, Claudia,and to read this blog that so clearly captures your love for writing and fantasy and Ireland. The place you stayed sounds amazing; I was ready to pack my bag.

    How, I wonder can i get that essay “Tolkiens Trees.” Do you have a copy? Please share it, with this Tolkienofile.

    Patti Gauch

    • Dear Patti,

      Thank you for a wonderful afternoon and evening together. I love people who love Tolkien. I am happy to email Tolkien’s Trees to you, and if you’ll just credit me I’m happy for you to use it in any way.

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