This is a very late entry for the Orgins Blogfest. Alas, I was not able to find the time to post this Monday, but I felt the subject worth exploring in a post all the same. So I decided to just post my entry today.
As I contemplated my origins as a writer I was forced to dwell not on authors who inspired me (Tolkien, Herbert, Powers) or my silly childhood attempts at Mary Sue fanfiction (me as a female Indiana Jones, no joke) or my desire to create something beautiful in the world... No. My origins as a writer go deeper than all of that.
The simple truth is that I began writing for the same reason that I was always a voracious reader: to escape.
This is an aspect of storytelling that is often looked down upon. And yet, it is central to humanity. There is an element of escapism in all storytelling. Whether you're escaping briefly from the grind of a desk job by coming home to a good thriller or allowing yourself to give in to the unspoken desires that daily life doesn't afford you with a steamy romance. No one has a life so perfect that they don't sometimes need to take their mind to another time and another place and life another life for a while.
Such experiences are refreshing to us. We gain renewed energy from stories and we learn things about ourselves that allow us to approach life in new and possibly better ways. The escape of a good story is essential to life.
Yet these aren't quite the reasons for my own need to escape.
It's not exactly an uncommon occurrence anymore, but you could say that I had a very bad childhood. It involved divorce and physical and emotional abuse that has scarred me for life. I won't go into details, because that's not what this is about. Suffice to say that as a child I desperately needed an outlet for escaping my life. I was powerless in the real world. There was nothing I could do about my situation. Bur I could go somewhere else in stories and I could be someone else at least for a short time. I developed the habit of getting so deeply involved in the books I read that I tuned the rest of the world out completely. I would finish the last page, close the book, look up... and wonder where I was for a minute or two. I got lost in stories.
But eventually books weren't quite enough. I didn't only want to experience the worlds and the people and the stories that others created. I wanted to create my own as well. I wanted to create another world for myself, a world where everything was just the way I wanted it. A world where I could feel beautiful and loved and important. That's how my writing career began. I wrote terrible Mary Sue fantasy stories for years. I never took it very seriously. It was just for me, my escape.
It wasn't until I grew up and got married and had a good life that I realized that all those years of writing drivel might just have prepared me to be able to write something worthwhile for a change. I realized that I had quite a creative mind and wasn't terrible with words and maybe, just maybe I could create something lasting and beautiful. Something that could help others to escape briefly to lands of wonder and mystery. Perhaps I really could write stories that would help renew and refresh others, as so many wonderful books had done for me.
That is now my fondest dream. To create stories of beauty and truth. To bring something good into the lives of others.