Yesterday I needed some time off from Wren, so I played with a story idea that may or may not develop further. Oddly enough, it was based in space, which doesn’t tend to be my thing as a writer. I ended up thinking about why that’s the case.

When I was a kid, I loved Cosmos. I loved watching it every week. I loved listening to Carl Sagan. I loved the science, but I also loved the grand drama of space, of death and birth and mindblowing beauty. Everything but black holes. I used to lay awake nights afraid of black holes. I read space SF (I still do, to a more limited extent). Moon is one of my favorite movies from the last few years.

But when I write, no matter what the story, I’m drawn to write about Earth, or an Earth-like surrogate. It could be for a thousand reasons. It could be a lack of imagination on my part, for example, or a lack of curiosity, or what comes of living in one place for so long.

Or it could be this. The other day we were watching a documentary about Madagascar. Have you ever seen a giraffe weevil (sometimes called a giraffe-necked beetle)? This site has pictures and facts about giraffe weevils, if you’re inclined to learn more. They exist only on Madagascar, and they are spectacular, with bright red bodies and incredible long necks.

There are giraffe weevils on this world. There is the brilliant blue of the indigo bunting who sings in the tall grass outside my window every summer. There is life to be found in even the most inhospitable corners of this planet. Look at it through one lens and it is an ongoing scientific miracle. Look at through another and it is magic.

I find it relatively easy, in this place where giraffe weevils can exist, to believe all sorts of other things can also exist. It fills me with a child’s desire to grab someone by the hand and pull them down to the ground and say “Look.”

Or perhaps it’s that I’m still hiding from black holes.