Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Thomas Ray Garcia ’16

Pharr, Texas • English View Profile

Living in a Fantasy

Leading a "Writer Lifestyle"

I lead a Writer Lifestyle because it helps me live life. However, I don't write about commonplace life, or anything that could be labeled "realistic fiction." I would rather live life than write about it, so I write fantasy.

There have been times that I’ve been criticized for writing fantasy. Some say that I need to grow up and face life, or better yet, just write about life. This view has always confused me, because since my early teen years, I’ve used fantasy writing as a way to enhance my own life experience.

This may sound contradictory. How can I get the most out of life when I’m busy living in my own fantasy world? And who would want to waste their four short years at Princeton living in an alternate reality?

To put it simply, writing fantasy rouses my spirit, my very “essence of being.” Whenever I need to refresh my spirit after tough bouts with reality, I withdraw into my carefully constructed world with all its rich history and diverse cultures. The longer I interact with the fascinating characters, the more I learn from them. Each character is essentially me in some way. Their struggles are my own, but by placing them in fantastical situations, I’m able to create solutions to their conflicts. When I return to reality, I usually come back with new insights about how to fix issues in my own life.

Then the thought comes: I need to write this down. It would be a true disservice to keep this world to myself. Furthermore, my spirit has been so imbued within the framework of this place that I’m essentially a part of it. I can’t let my spirit die, and so I write, hoping that one day my words will touch someone else’s spirit.

Both my Mentor and Writer Lifestyles involve me being somewhere else other than Princeton, but I don’t think I'm wasting my college years away at all. As a mentor conscious of my home community, I have expanded my mind beyond Princeton. As a writer conscious of reality, I have stretched my spirit beyond actuality. My life is better because of both.