The standard question for any writer in an interview is what propels them to write. It’s not an easy question to sum up in a sound bite and I think the reasons change on a daily basis. I write because I have to. I write because the characters won’t shut up. Sometimes I write because something is such a mess that leaving it won’t un-mess itself.
Today, my answer is I write to create an escape and it took a heartbreak to remind me of that.
One of my favorite aunts was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis on Friday. Meningitis is mean stuff, but if you have to have one, you want the kind that can at least be fought with antibiotics. At lunch, my mom sent me a text to let me know she was awake and responding, joking with my uncle that his hair was a mess. Two hours later, she was dead. Her heart just gave out.
As with any sudden death, there is the denial and disbelief that has hit me at varying intervals in the last few hours. Now the desire to escape this pain is so overwhelming that all I want to do is curl up with a good book. I want the poetic words of a stranger and the beautifully woven story to carry me from my hurt into her world. I want to live the lives of the characters and leave mine behind just for a little bit.
This is a unique bond I share with this author. She is doing something for me that my husband, parents, sister and best friend can’t right now. She’s helping me forget.
That is why I write. I write for the reader who is looking for something to take her away from hurt. I write to help her forget, so that when it is time for her to remember, she will be stronger and more ready to face it head on.
To the reader that I have not yet met, I write for you because someone has written for me.