I can't begin to tell you how many times I am asked that question. As a fantasy artist I live and create in a world of make believe, folk lore, and the everyday magic that is nature.
A better asked question might be, "who wouldn't want to believe in times like these?"
Recent weather catastrophes, war, financial crisis's, drugs, violence, and the downfall of the "hero" in our society has left us bereft and adrift in a sea of disillusion and uncertainty. As children we looked up to sports legends, movie stars, and presidents until it become glaringly obvious that they missed the mark, fell or were toppled off their pedestals by their actions or misdeeds. After all they're only human, right?
Faeries on the other hand are known to be duplicitous, tricks-y, pranksters, who depending on their type are pretty straight forward. Most fairy fall into one of three categories, Neutral, the Seelie, and the Unseelie. The neutral fairies are just that, neither aligned with the good or bad, and the Seelie are generally considered to be light (mainly positive) fairies while the Unseelie are quite the opposite. With faerie you know where you stand.
We were brought up believing in the Tooth fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and faeries. Early memories of scouting fields behind our home for dew covered spider webs on the ground with the hope of discovering fairy balls still going on.
Mushroom rings, dark hidey holes in trees, fallen logs, dense underbrush were inspected for wee folk. My mom and grandmother would read to us each night of wee folk, goblins, and brownies who regularly stole our toys if we were bad.
My favorite poem is still William Allingham's "The Faeries".
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren 't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!
Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.
While we were not rich in coin we were rich in imagination and we believed!
Fast forward some forty years and I still believe. I believe in a world of imagination, of art, of music. Nature has become my muse, my comfort, and my friend. I turn off the TV and go for walks in the woods.
The air is clean and sweet, vernal pools are now teeming with life, trees are waking and showing forth their finest buds and blooms.
My grandsons are now of an age where Santa, the Easter Bunny, and fairy folk are real. I will pass on the tales, poems, and stories that were told to me. The seeds will be planted, nurtured, and if they are lucky, they will have the chance to experience the imagination of a magical world, something that is slowly dissappearing from their daily life.
So, the next time you lose your keys, the lights go out, or toys go missing, blame it on the faeries... you'll feel better and your children will love the stories. Use your imagination!!
Fantasy artists do it every day. We live our lives immersed in music, art, folk tales, traditions, and when the world around us is in chaos, we find the quiet place that faerie provides. Our own oasis in a desert of disillusioned humanity.
I ask again...do you believe?