“Why?” That’s probably my favorite question. Whereas some kids go through a brief phase of “But, why?” I never really outgrew that, which is probably one of the driving forces behind my choice to become a scientist.
My editor at Pro Se Productions, who is also a writer, discussed the “why” behind his choice to write pulp and also addressed the fact that most writers will give a rather vague answer when asked why we write and even why we write what we write.
So, why do I write and more specifically, why do I write my personal blend of science fiction, fantasy and romance?
The reason, as with many things, goes way back to childhood. Even before I read, I played make believe. Mr. Rogers showed me that in Make Believe, anything could happen. My family had some rocky times. To be honest it was probably rocky and troubled more often than not. In Make Believe, I didn’t have to be me, people were nice, the bad guys got what was coming to them– or more likely, realized how horrid they had been and became good, and all was right with the world.
I recall sitting down, even as young as five, to watch the evening news. I remember Ronald Regan’s re-election, Challenger’s explosion, watching the fall of the Berlin wall, Tienanmen square massacre, Iran Contra, and innumerable other incidents that are now little blurbs in the history books. While I rarely comprehended all the nuances of the events I witnessed on television, I felt the emotional impact.
I realized that horrible things happened in the world, but I was “the glass is half full, and if it isn’t I’ll make it that way” sort of gal. Along with my daily dose of reality, I watched re-runs of the original Star Trek, and then a few years later ST:TNG won my unending devotion. Those shows, with a smattering of other science fiction shows and movies, reinforced my beliefs that humanity could be so much more, so much better, but sometimes it took a single voice to lead the way. Science fiction wasn’t afraid to question the status quo. It wasn’t afraid to ask “What if?” It made you think. It made you ponder. It wasn’t about the special effects and explosions of today’s sci-fi movies and shows. It invested you in characters and you found yourself wrestling with dilemmas right beside them in your imagination.
On a small scale, when one reads, one is taken to another place, escapes to a universe where horrors or drudgery from everyday life disappear as long as you keep turning pages. Fiction can open your eyes to ideas in ways that mere didactic knowledge cannot. Open one mind to love, acceptance, tolerance and all of the things our world is in so much need of and you have planted a seed of hope for the human race. Make it entertaining, fantastical, and gut wrenching and you make that world and those characters stick with a reader long after they put the book down.
How does all of that boil down to why I write?
In short, I write to change the world.