A topic I would say I’m quite passionate about, especially in my writing, is diversity, since I think that is important for people who don’t usually get to see people like themselves portrayed in the media get the chance to do so. As a gay man, it always makes me happy whenever I see people like me in stories, or shows or anything, and I want to share that feeling with lots of people. I want my stories to be accessible and inclusive of everyone, so that they can reach as wide an audience as possible. Obviously, I’m not an expert in other people’s struggles, and I have to be careful not to write a story that isn’t within my rights to do so. At the end of the day, though, I’m still writing people – and people are people, no matter what they look like, what they can and can’t do, who they love or who they decide to be. I think people underestimate the power of casual normalcy when it comes to representation, even in fantasy in sci-fi.
What inspires me to write a lot of the time is the idea of transgression, especially when it comes to narrative and genre conventions. I like to take ideas that make people say ‘No way would that work’ and find a way to make it work. Nothing makes me more inspired to write than someone saying that writing a certain scene, event, motivation or character would be impossible. It definitely worked its way into ‘Gathering at Gorsedd Arberth’, because I wanted to set up a fairly generically appropriate fantasy world, with all the attached iconography and themes and characters, but instead of having something mystical or spectacular happen at this meeting of magical characters they just end up arguing over the dress-code for most of the story. I like that these wizards and magicians, who are usually seen as all-knowing and above mortal conflict, get wound up over something really small and insignificant, because it demystifies and humanizes them in a way.
It’s probably quite obvious that I like Welsh mythology, but who wouldn’t? I think we’re quite lucky in Wales to have such a rich, exciting culture of stories that is still tangible today. Something about the fact that these stories have their roots in narratives created centuries and centuries ago, and that I can, even in some small way, contribute in the continuation of this amazing legacy of storytelling, amazes me. I wish more contemporary stories had the confidence to be as strange and absurd as a lot of mythological stories.
Tom Price is an 18 year old writer from Cardiff. He is currently studying Writing for Broadcasting, Media and Performance at Aberystwyth University. He enjoys writing fantasy and sci-fi mainly because you can get away with so many more spectacular things than in other genres. He feels that Welsh mythology is full of weird and wonderful stories and loves using elements of them in his work, since it offers a way to express his Welsh identity in a way that feels authentic. As well as short stories, he also likes to write plays, sketches and various other forms of prose.
You can read Tom’s story, Gathering at Gorsedd Arberth, in our second issue.