I Want To Tell Stories

The world has been yellow the last couple of weeks.  Spring has most definitely sprung here in Mississippi.  Our yard went from patches of dead grass and lots of weeds to…well a lot more weeds actually.  I was surviving pretty well until yesterday and then it all caught up to me and knocked me on my butt.  But we had a storm yesterday–a lovely fierce one that lashed and whipped…like the inside of a drive through car wash.  And it’s left the world sparkly and gorgeous this morning.  It’ll be yellow again tomorrow probably, but for today, I’m enjoying it.

I’ve been doing a lot of mulling since the Universe mule-kicked me earlier this week.  About a LOT of stuff.  And frankly, I’m not caffeinated enough to counteract the double dose of Benedryl I took last night to adequately discuss most of it with you here this morning.  But the bit of it that’s circling around my brain is about why we write.

Susan and I got into a discussion at some point in the last few weeks talking about why we write.  It’s a subject that’s come up often enough over the years in various guises, but she brought it up way back to the beginning.  Commercial, we’d like to make a living doing what we love aspects aside, everyone has some REASON they want to write.  For her, it’s about making readers FEEL something.  For me, it’s because I want to tell stories.

I want to tell stories.

It’s worth repeating because I think I’ve gotten away from that.  I’m not worried about making readers feel something (although, of course, I’d like them to and if I did my job right telling said stories, they should).  I’m not worried about being remembered fifty or a hundred years after I’m dead.  I’m not trying to be the next J.K. Rowling or Nora Roberts (it’d be nice, but that’s not the driver).  I’m not doing it for the legitimacy of traditional publication (which, again, I wouldn’t turn DOWN, but that’s not my motivator).

I want to tell stories.

When I look back over the things I’ve written in the last few years, the last thing that was EASY to write was Red.  Part of that is due to the fact that it was a fairly simple, straight-forward story.  So simple, in fact, that I pretty well got it right on the first draft and have damned myself by expecting them all to go that well.  And while that was a component if it being easy, the bigger one (as Susan pointed out yesterday) was that it was a story I WANTED to write.  I wasn’t worried about marketability or what was selling or the fact that I was jumping to a different audience.  I wrote that book because Elodie literally woke me up at 3 in the morning and demanded it.  Hers was a story I WANTED to tell, one I probably would’ve written even if the market was wholly flooded with others just like it.  It’s easy to write a book that springs from one’s brain fully-formed like Athena from Zeus’s brow.  

For everything I’ve attempted since then, if you asked me why I wanted to write it, I could easily offer up some answer relating to sales, marketing, commercial appeal, or platform.

Not coincidentally, no one has woken me up in the middle of the night since I finished that story.

I want to tell stories.

And it’s time I got back to that.


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