Wesley Baines

Location United States
Occupation Editor
Website https://www.linkedin.com/in/wesley-baines-498756117?trk=prof-samename-name

About Me

I was the child who lay in his bed, fearing the black room before him, fearing the sounds of the wind in storm, and of the branches which scraped the windows. Simultaneously, I was the child who wilted in disappointment when a flash of lightning revealed...nothing. No creature, no disproportionate silhouette, just an empty room. The want of the Unknown is a part of why I began writing fiction--I found, as a child, that I could create what was not, and fulfill that desire for the Thing in the Night.

For a lover of the unknown, I've grown into someone who loves to know. I tend to find wonder in all things, and I'm an inquisitive sort, a lifelong learner. I'm the one who is up at 3 AM looking at pictures of abandoned train stations and lists of worst diseases and wildlife populations of tiny, isolated islands. The university is my haven--In my undergrad experience, I studied English Literature, I work at a university, and am about to begin my journey into a Master's of Theological Studies before eventually moving on to an English PhD. My primary areas of research are the crossroads between religion and horror, and the psychological effects of speculative fiction. I love every past and future moment of learning.

In that same vein, I love criticism. I thrive upon it. I'm still--and always will be--developing as a writer, and so a steady stream of constructive criticism helps me to constantly improve my storytelling ability. And despite my love of academia, I am still very much a Creative Writing soul. It is, and forever will be, one of my chief pleasures.

Speaking of pleasures, I've recently begun the establishment of a campus creative writing magazine entitled "Faith and Fantasy," which encompasses all genres of speculative fiction submitted by undergraduates and graduates of my university, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life thus far. I love giving others the opportunity to have their work known. If I never manage to publish a single word, I'll still be absolutely satisfied with the knowledge that I've inspired and prepared others to pursue their creative dreams.

For now, my Fictionaut friends, I am going to take a leave of absence in order to focus on publishing my work, as things are actually beginning to go well. I'll still visit from time to time and comment, but I likely won't be posting too much original content for a while. Take care!

My bio is now well out-of-date. I'll update when I can.

Why do you write?

I write through the perspective of my chosen worldview--that of Christianity, and therein lies much of my Why. Although I'm not the one who speaks to others directly about God, I hope that my stories and poetry do what the Parables did, illustrating truth and God's character through non-religious story. I find that there are a lot of misconceptions about who God is, about why evil and suffering exists, and about what it means to be Christian. One of my goals is to introduce readers to ideas that bring to light the fact that these misconceptions exist. I may not have the answers, but I certainly want to raise the right questions.

Specifically, I write fantasy and horror because the genres of speculative fiction (specifically those two) have an uncanny habit of disentangling real issues from their primary-world-woven web of presuppositions, thrusting them into a new world and into a new light so that they might be examined and questioned.

There is also a psychological concept of perceived time acceleration as we age--the more of life that is no longer new to us, the more that things begin to repeat, the faster time seems to flow. Our brains simply do not linger long on repeated experience. However, the fantastical slows us down and allows a deeper experience even to those minds which have been numbed by knowledge and time. Fantasy grabs us, shows us the world in a wholly new light, and forces our minds to pay attention.

I also simply have a love for fantasy. I've always been more interested in the unnatural than in the natural, in the possibilities of the unseen world. I adore that which touches my sense of wonder, especially when it's done in beautiful ways. It's simply a part of who I am.

Any favorite authors? Books?

I'm heavily influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, whose entire body of work will always be my first literary love. I find all of it absolutely beautiful.

I also greatly enjoy the dense moods and language and fear of the unknown spun by H.P. Lovecraft and Poe. They, particularly Lovecraft, inform my work and have contributed to me a great appreciation for the use of the unknown in my writing. I also have a great love for Mary Shelly, Oscar Wilde, J.K. Rowling, Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo, the apologetic works of C.S. Lewis, Stephen King's Dark Tower series, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and the Harry Potter series. Those are a small sampling, but they should paint a good picture of what I love.

I'm also a student of mythologies and religious texts--I love examining their intersections and similarities to one another. I'm an odd combination of fantasy, horror, whimsy, and religion, all of which you can find in my writing.

Wesley Baines's Wall

Wesley Baines – Apr 14, 2016

Thank you, Emily!

Emily Sparkles – Nov 26, 2015

As a teacher and academic, I find your perspective on being published refreshing. Affirming. The shared worldview likely has something to do with that, but regardless, I appreciate your story and vision.

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