Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why I write

I write because I must.
I can't stop.
Part of that is purely practical and selfish. Writing keeps me from taking the stacks of prescription drugs any psychologist would happily prescribe if I admitted everything that's wrong with me.
I can write myself out of a depression and into a place of possibility. I like being in my writing cave.

Personal therapy aside, I write for children because I believe in that unknown delight just around the corner, behind the next bush...and I believe in sharing delight when you find it.
And because I need to feel a childlike hope that the world holds potential for good, when the horror of real life seems too big. I believe all children need that. Big people, too, if they would admit it.

Which is one of the reasons I love fantasy, that most symbolic of genres.
Fantasy is not escape, it's distance on reality, a chance to step back and see what's possible, without getting sucked into the boredom and bleakness of grown-up views on what's real.

Which sometimes seems to me like the ultimate escape, that unwillingness to believe that anything you do could ever make a difference.

I believe in the power of children fighting dragons. And that's something too big to keep all to myself. I believe in the magic of Story.

And so I write, for a glimpse into possibility. A glimpse I can't help but want to share with people. Especially young ones. Even if it means I've got to come out of my cave once in awhile.

4 comments:

  1. I like this Elena. And your passion shows in your work.

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  2. Thanks, Matt. I think few of us would write if it were all about money or notoriety (not that the chances for either are very great). It's just not worth what you have to put into it unless there's something bigger.

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  3. This is just beautiful. You make me feel guilty for not loving it, but I guess it takes all types. :)

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  4. Well, you're good at it, whether you love it or not, so I hope you don't quit. Maybe you'll like it better when your kids are old enough that you have more time and don't have to feel guilty about neglecting them for it. Guilt has always been the enemy of anything I enjoy; I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit writing because of guilt, but Martine helped me banish that. Poof! It's gone. Besides, I couldn't stop when I tried. I guess I'm an addict.

    I hope you do keep on writing, because I want to buy your books someday.

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