The best prose writing will have poetry in it, and the best poem will contain elements of prose. Fantasy and realism are also on a continuum. They are not literary genres but ways of writing, and even of approaching the world. I believe that we, as writers, have two opposite impulses: to describe our world as accurately as possible, that is, to represent, and to create something that we have never seen before, to imagine. Every story contains fantasy and realism, in different proportions. Pure fantasy: perhaps that would look like one of Lord Dunsany's dreamscapes, where nothing in particular happens but everything the narrator describes is fantastical. Pure realism: the best example I can think of is actually a parody, Mr. Bailey, Grocer in George Gissing's New Grub Street. And Gissing himself seems, to me, a writer firmly on the realistic side of the continuum.Peter S. Beagle:
MC: Do you think of yourself as a "fantasy writer"?
PSB: I think of myself as a fantasy thinker. I’ve done a lot of writing that wasn’t fantasy, but I know that "fantastic thinking" is a particular mindset of mine. There was a piece in today’s San Francisco Chronicle about a writer I know slightly, Christopher Moore, and in it Moore talks about wanting to write horror from quite an early age, but finding that somehow his horror always turned funny. Because that’s the way Moore is. So it just did. In the same way I could be writing about the minutes of a Congressional committee meeting, and somehow a fantasy element would enter without my knowledge.