Guest Blogger, Phillip S. Benson

Me, My Ant Farm, and How My Six-Legged Buddies Have Healed My Inner Child

First, I want to sincerely thank Lisa Di Dio for inviting me to contribute to Black Ink, White Paper. Second, I should probably level with everyone right off the bat—I do not own an ant farm. Third, although men have feelings too, I am hesitant to discuss my inner child, since doing so would conflict with my macho image. However, with that said, I do believe that life itself — not to mention writing —has both a practical side (the busy ants completing tasks step by step) and an inspirational side (the inner child longing to be enthralled with wonder).

Some philosophers argue that rational analysis and a sense of wonder are at odds. They imply that one can either be a brilliant yet melancholy intellectual who is grounded in reality or a naïve yet joyous mystic with his or her head in the clouds. However, I contend that there is no inherent conflict between rationality and wonder.

Apart from our ability to think rationally, we would have no true ability to appreciate wonder in the first place, since we would be nothing more than objects — incapable of genuine free thought. On the other hand, if we were capable of rational thought but there was no deeper purpose to our existence, then our logic would be empty. As such, I firmly hold that rational thought and wondrous inspiration are not only compatible but are in fact both necessary.

And speaking of my personal sources of inspiration, breathtaking landscapes have always, well … taken my breath. Whether walking along the Northern California coast or hiking in mountain ranges across the Western United States, I have always felt drawn to the wilderness. This becomes readily apparent in my recently published novel, Defiant, Book One of the Northstar Series.

Although Defiant is a fantasy novel, it is intended to directly explore real-world joys and sorrows—to echo the difficult questions with which we all wrestle. Defiant focuses on a warrior’s quest to discover the purpose of his existence, if such a thing exists, and though he comes to strong conclusions by the end of the story, he is still left to grapple with many doubts. Despite those doubts, he is convinced that there are things in life about which he can be certain.

Every day, regardless of what we pursue in life, we need a reason to get up in the morning. This purpose ought to be grounded in both rational thought (day-to-day realities) and a deep sense of wonder (the hope of our dreams being realized). Those of us who lean towards science and heady intellectual pursuits do not need to reject our sense of awe, and those of us who lean towards mystical inspiration need not shelve our critical thinking abilities. The mind and the heart can complement each other perfectly.

–Phillip S. Benson

DEFIANT, by Phillip S. Benson is available at


11 responses to “Guest Blogger, Phillip S. Benson

  1. Fantastic poss, Phillip! Thanks for joining us. 🙂


  2. Phil, so glad you could join us! And I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

  3. Welcome aboard, Phil and well, said. We are all the sum total of our parts and that includes the parts that make us tick. And we should try to exercise them, all of them, daily. A writer needs his head in the clouds part of the time.

  4. Hi Phil, glad to hear your story and nice of you to give Wally and Raymond a little male company,

  5. Hey, everyone – thanks for inviting me to write! Glad I can throw some extra testosterone into the mix. As Wally noted and as I think we can all agree (given our craft of writing), the things that make us tick are truly fulfilling but also come with their challenges …

  6. Inspiring. Thanks for posting this!

  7. Great post, Phil! 🙂 Thank you.

  8. Phillip, I think that’s one of those things that writers and artists of every kind always struggle with – ants versus mysticism. I know I do – thanks for putting it so clearly.


  9. The mind and the heart are indeed perfect complements. I think all writers must be inherently aware of this truth to do what we do. Thanks for joining us.

  10. Couldn’t agree more, Phil

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