Monday, April 9, 2012

Why I Write What I Write

I love reading. Always have. The day I got my first book, a primer about David and Ann and their dog Spot, I was hooked. My heroes have always been the people, who like Calgon Bath Oil, could "take me away." There is something so amazing about the written word and its ability to transport a person to far off places, put them in situations they would otherwise never experience and give them sometimes visceral experiences. I recall an occasion when I was coming down with the flu and knew it. So on the way home from work, I stopped and picked up some paperbacks to read for the duration of my illness. One of them was The Exorcist. I was feeling pretty poorly and thought I’d get in a few pages before I fell into bed. At the time I was living in a one-bedroom apartment and had given the bedroom to my five-year-old daughter. I slept on a sofabed in the living room. I hadn’t yet pulled out the bed and was reading furiously when my little girl awakened and wandered into the living room to ask for a glass of water. I was so into the book that upon hearing her tiny voice calling “Mommy” my heart leapt into my throat, the book flew across the room and I landed with a thud on the floor. Now THAT was a visceral experience!

I like to read all kinds of things but I love writing thrillers and weird stuff. Like the song says: I don’t know why. I just do. I like going to odd and disturbing places in my head and finding out what sorts of things lurk there. Sometimes I’m surprised. Mostly it makes me laugh because the things I write are so unlike who I am. Well, the boring characters are sort of like me, but the villains, who are so much fun for me to write, are the polar opposite of me. I guess that’s why I like to write them. They let me bust out of my shell, so to speak.

The thing that’s so cool about writing, as opposed to acting, which was something I thought would feed that inner rebel, is that I get to be ALL the characters and I have ALL the control. So you now you know. I have control issues. So much of life is out of our control and I’m lucky to be able to have that one little corner where I can do and be anything and everything I can possibly imagine. It’s a powerful thing, even if it’s just an illusion.

Mostly I write what I write because it’s fun, pure and simple. It’s hard work but it’s enjoyable hard work and I love doing it. The MOST fun is when people like what I write. Then I feel like I really did something special. I got to take them away, transport them to a world created in my imagination and engaged them. What a feeling! And who knows, maybe someone will be inspired to write because of one of my books, just like I have been inspired by the authors who have engaged me.

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