Kelly Sandoval’s story “The Otherside of Memory” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 9 April 2021.
I grew up on portal fantasies. I loved The Labyrinth, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Peter Pan. I wanted more than anything to disappear through a wardrobe, or a painting, and find myself somewhere else. Somewhere special.
But even as a kid, there were elements of the stories that bothered me. Especially Narnia. The characters live out their lives in this magical world. They’re forced, as children, to fight. They grow up. They rule as kings and queens. And then they return to their lives and homes, magically children again. I could never believe that they would simply be fine with living as normal kids. I could hardly accept that they’d return in the first place.
The “Otherside of Memory” grew out of that tension. What does it mean to stay in a magical world, especially one that, as so many do, seems to exist as a reflection of its visitors? What does it take to leave it behind? And why would you?
In a way, this story is a conversation between the child me, who still longs for portals, and the current me, who sees the darker, more troubling side of such fantasies.
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