A lot of people who write—whether or not they ever get published, or even try—do so because we have "no choice." I said in a recent post that I write to get rid of the voices in my head. And while I meant that humorously and facetiously on at least one level, to a certain extent, it's also true: stories and characters do have a tendency to knock on the inside of my skull from time to time.
But that's not the whole story (<rimshot>). For me, at least.
See...I may be 44 years old—soon to be 45—but I still want very badly to open a wardrobe door and find myself in Narnia. No, literally. Those books...changed reading for me. I read dozens of books before The Chronicles of Narnia, but I never wanted to crawl into any of those, curl up, close the door, and stay forever.
To make an analogy with drugs that almost pains me to type: Narnia was like my first line of cocaine. I got an amazing high, and I never wanted to come down. But come down I did, and then it took more and more and more to give me that same feeling. Now I'm strung out on multi-book series like Xanth, Discworld, The Dresden Files, The Belgariad, The Malloreon, The Sword of Truth, and The Wheel of Time. All in some hope of recapturing that initial awestruck craving to go there that I had with Narnia.
I would give almost anything if I could wake up tomorrow in a world where it's possible to go to Narnia.
Alas, this is reality. Damn it. And because it is unfortunately reality, the only way I'm ever going to get to visit Narnia afresh—or Oz, The Land, Phaze/Proton, Middle Earth, Prydain, Hed, Majipoor, Earthsea, Discworld, Ringworld, Green-sky, Landover, Pern...or yes, even Xanth—is to create something like them in my own head and then write down the stories in the hopes that it affects other people in the same way that Narnia or Green-sky affected me.
Hmm. To continue my drug analogy from above...that would make me a pusher. Maybe that's not such a great analogy after all. Okay, ignore that part.
The point is that part of the reason I am driven to write—and to (I hope) improve my skills as I go—is to give back some of what other writers were able to do for me.
And even if no one ever reads them, they brought me joy in the making. And for a while, I got to visit Mr. Tumnus. As it were.
[Crossposted to my new site.]