A. A. Attanasio
Novelist and student of the imagination living in Honolulu
Thanks for visiting my website. I’m a novelist and student of the imagination living in Honolulu. Fantasies, visions, hallucinations or whatever we call those irrational powers that illuminate our inner life fascinate me. I’m particularly intrigued by the creative intelligence that scripts our dreams. And I love carrying this soulful energy outside my mind, into the one form that most precisely defines who we are: story.
I grew up in the urban shadow of New York City during the Cold War. The likelihood of thermonuclear holocaust made it really difficult to believe in a future.
Looking for a peaceful place to be, where my life didn’t feel threatened, I spent a lot of time reading. My obsession with creative writing began then.
The certainty of imminent apocalypse set me on an urgent, personal quest for answers to those big questions everyone asks: Where do we come from? Where do we go when we die? What exactly is reality?
I was appalled to discover that there are no answers!
We landed a man on the moon when I was seventeen, but no one knew then (or now) the origin of life let alone the cosmos.
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem and Wittgenstein’s limits of logic prove conclusively that reality is unknowable. All answers to those ultimate questions are … fantasies!
That astonished me, and I began to look closely at the stories we tell and why some fantasies feel truer than others.
My friend Leo Scarpelli created this website in 2005 so I could share my reflections on fantasy while learning from fellow readers and writers about what Geoffrey Chaucer, the 14th century father of English literature, calls: "The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne, Th'assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge, The dredful joye..."
(1382, "The Parliament of Fowls").
What I’ve learned from this website has made me a better writer. I began publishing novels in the typewriter era, when the solitude of writing contoured an author’s life.
For a long time, it was just me and the Muse, and responses from readers came way after I wrote my novels.
With this website, insights from readers have helped me shape works-in-progress, and I’ve gotten lots of inspirational comments, which have encouraged me to turn my better ideas into literary projects.
When I’m not writing, thinking about writing or thinking about thinking about writing, I enjoy hiking the high trails of the Hawaiian Islands. I get a spiritual lift visiting sacred sites where the first people told the stories that defined them.
The islanders had an oral tradition. Many of their stories disappeared before missionaries introduced writing. Sitting among the stone ruins of ancient shrines, surrounded by the same elemental vistas that inspired myths now forgotten, I feel the power and grace of writing. And I share presence with silence.