I stood behind my little table rearranging the Phoenix statue, OCD lining up my books, and just in general feeling awkward and out of place. In this post-COVID era, I think I have forgotten how to human. How do I do this interaction thing with people I don’t know, or haven’t seen in years? And for god’s sake why can’t I do this in my comfy clothes? Do we even still dress up anymore? Is that a thing? Why? Just…why?
There is a reason I have a book to sell. Sitting alone by myself for hours on end seemed like a great idea. A perfect idea. But now I have to human? I have to look people in the eye? And TALK!? Not only do I need to keep eye contact (but not too much!) I need to sell my book. I have to delve deep – way, way past my insecurities and doubts and imposter syndrome that feels like the real me but isn’t, and assure these hard-working people that my work is work the money – their money?
I tell myself there are so many reasons not to do this. The world needs smarter, more hard-working people to solve these serious problems we have. Why am I wasting everyone’s time with a bit of cozy fantasy? Why can’t I be like Rebecca Solnit? She’s doing serious work. Helping women and changing the world in a real way. Or Margaret Atwood? Their work has impact.
Why I write
And then I think of the teenager I was – facing endless hours in a hospital room with nothing to occupy me but a staticky TV (if I was lucky) board games and books. Social issues, feminism, changing the world, all of those things took a back burner to the need I had to turn away from reality. Because there was no joy in reality. There was only pain and fear and, honestly, the unmitigated terror of a future I had no idea if I was going to be a part of. I didn’t expect to live past 18. And when that is your expectation, you turn to fantasy. And in fantasy there is hope. Fragile as it is, hope that miracles happen. That magic is real (or at least imaginable). And for a while, if the story was detailed and vast enough, I could forget who I was. And that is why I write.
I want any person reading my books to feel transported, for a little bit, into a world that is wonderful, fantastical, and cozy. There are real terrors too, but always the hope that our light is brighter than the pain we face. And that’s all I have to say about that.
What is your why? Why do you write? What fuels your world-building?