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.

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