The world of fantasy extends into many mediums – movies, video games, books, etc. – captivating audiences from different backgrounds for many reasons: The overall storytelling, the ambiance, the mysticism, the beliefs of destiny and fate.
Author Terry Bartley and tarot card reader Branden Lyesmith embody the spirit of fantasy not only as they met out of an unexpected turn of events, but also for the way they have turned fantasy into their livelihoods.
The Open Book played host July 12 to Bartley’s live podcast tour, “Most Writers Are Fans,” that has been making its way across the country.
Bartley describes his podcast as the exploration of the intersection between writing and fandom.
“I love hearing about why someone decides to get into a creative profession and what things inspired them along the way,” said Bartley.
For this stop, Bartley was originally supposed to interview a songwriter. Due to injury, the songwriter was unable to attend and Lyesmith happened to be working at the Open Book that day.
The podcast was stylized in a “Q and A” format. Bartley played the role of interviewer, Lyesmith as interviewee and the audience was able to ask a few questions directed at both.
The two discussed many topics such as their journeys to their professions, the representation of magic in media, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mental health, skepticism, the idea of destiny and fantasy.
“In real life, we tend to just think small, we hope for the big and we think too small,” said Lyesmith. “Whereas here in fantasy or in media, it’s the other way around.”
Journeys to their professions
Lyesmith became aware of his gifts at age 4 when he couldn’t stop hearing voices and seeing things that couldn’t be explained.
For 20 years of his life, he avoided it as much as possible until he was told it was unavoidable. The career he has now was what he was meant to do.
“I didn’t have a choice,” said Lysemith.
Becoming an author was a dream for Bartley. He loved English and the world of fantasy.
Taking the leap to writing a book was one he had no regrets about.
“This feels like a long time coming,” said Bartley. “I’ve been writing for about five years now. I can’t wait to be able to talk to people about these characters that have been living in my head for so long.”
However, he knew, and still knows, very little about what being an author means.
“I’m sort of learning this process through writing this book and that’s been a really fulfilling experience,” said Bartley. “But I will say, the more I learned about being an indie creative these days, the more that I realized that it’s like very, very, very hard to break into it.”
Bartley has aspirations that this live podcast tour will give him the opportunity to grow his book to its full potential.
Representation of magic in media
The two discussed the modern representation of magic in media, mainly citing “Harry Potter.”
Bartley asked Lyesmith’s opinion on the matter, to which he said that he has very little negative feelings toward it.
Lyesmith felt that as the “Harry Potter” books progressed, more and more truth of magic came onto the pages and was able to represent, not play ignorant, to the complex history of magic.
ADHD and mental health
As mentioned earlier, these two were brought together due to an unexpected turn of events.
It was endearing for them to connect on a personal level and share their struggles with ADHD and mental health.
Lyesmith encouraged the audience to focus in deep on themselves, celebrate victories, move their bodies, take a step back from social media, embrace culture, tune in to little actions and stop doubting themselves.
“We are constantly thinking of everything outside of us first, and we leave our internal world of mess,” said Lyesmith. “The thing with magic, or the thing with even the deities that I work with is that they push forward and what they talk about so frequently, is you can’t make any effects in the world at all until you start learning how to affect your own personal environment.”
When approached with the idea of skeptics and skepticism of Lyesmith’s abilities, he surprised many by saying he loves them the most.
“At least with skeptics, it makes it clear what it is that needs to be talked about and what it needs to be or what they need discussed,” said Lyesmith. “They’re also much more scientific minded, or more wanting to find out how something is done, versus just having that full faith and trust and saying, ‘OK, I believe you.’ I think everybody should approach my world and every single world with a healthy dose of skepticism.”
The idea of destiny
“Whenever you hear the word destiny, what does that say to you?” asked Bartley.
“Your chosen path,” said Lyesmith. “But for me, it’s much more what you accept as your chosen path. You were given a specific statement like you’re supposed to explore and go to Mordor (a reference to the Frodo Baggins character in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy). OK, let’s use that as an example. You’re supposed to go to Mordor. You can choose not to go to Mordor. You can choose the way to get to Mordor, but a lot of people, they hear just that statement. ‘You have to go to Mordor,’ and they freak out. They panic. They only see ‘A to Z’ and they see nothing in between. So people hear destiny, and a lot of people panic. A lot of people are uncomfortable with that type of a statement. I try to use more language that isn’t geared around destiny or fate, unless I see you specifically in someone’s reading. You have no other choice but to do this. Whether you try to avoid it or not, it’s going to show up. And that to me is destiny. That no matter how much you try to avoid something it’s going to happen in this lifetime or another lifetime. It’s going to happen. Your soul has to experience this.”
Bartley’s book, “Tyranny of the Fey,” is set to release on Aug. 15.