Monday, September 26, 2016

Why do I write?

This question appeared on Quora recently:
Why do you write fiction?

My response was:
On the one hand, I have a simple answer ready: I write the stories I want to experience.
On the other hand, I can’t really answer why I, or people in general, write fiction.
I’m in an uncertain place employment-wise. Don’t worry about me; I don’t think I’m in a desperate place, but it has made me think about different levels of production. My background in ecology might have something to do with it.
I could look up the proper terms, but the first level of production involves making solid, important things. Food might be first on the list, followed by clothing and housing and so on. The first levels are all tangible. You can touch them; they are not abstract.
Middle levels might involve repair or medicine.
Eventually, you get to more abstract levels. Cynically, religion might fit here. Writing definitely does.
I don’t live in Canada now, but I am from there and I worry about the Canadian economy. Canada isn’t producing much of those lower level things right now. The thing is, you can’t eat books or movies or TV shows.
I want to remind any reader that I am trying to write books myself. I am not against fiction writing at all.
I just look at a question like, “Why do you write fiction?” and it makes me think I really should think more about growing crops or raising chickens or building those peddle-powered generators I have long been thinking about.
Writing fiction is not easy, but the act of doing so is comfortable in the sense that one is not outside and burning or freezing, or getting injured from a farming implement or soldering iron…
I hope that I am not writing fiction (and spending too much time here rather than actually writing fiction) because it is merely comfortable.
I hope that, not my current book, but some book of mine will have the value of Madeleine L'Engle’s or Ursula K. Le Guin’s or, in a very important but different way, George Orwell’s. 

See the link at the top for more answers.

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