Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Very Late to the Origins Blogfest

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.


  1. Don't worry that you're late. Your blog managed to sneak itself onto my blogroll.

    Escapism is a large part of fiction. I don't get the feeling of being drawn into a world often, in either reading or writing, but I love books because of how I can draw myself in with only a book. There's also the experience of letting my imagination rule my thoughts. That's the deepest part of writing, the mind.

    One part of fiction I aim for is conveying that into words without it getting it muddled up by my skill.

    I can say I passed the "Mary Sue" stage. My own origin story covers a project that had a touch of escapism.

  2. CO, you're lucky. It took me quite a long time to work the Mary Sue out of my system. :)

  3. I think a lot of people are looking to escape, both in reading and in writing. And all those Mary Sue stories were valuable writing time, regardless of the subject matter. Shoot, I'm still writing Mary Sue stories disguised as speculative fiction novels. :))

  4. I did have a happy childhood, but I still wanted to escape. And wanting to create my own adventures led to writing.

  5. I'm so happy to hear that writing was an escape for you - can't think of anything better (besides reading, of course).
    Love the way you phrased your dream - I hope someday your writing can be an escape for others :-)

  6. Glad you posted. I think the Origins was a great idea for a blog. Not that I signed up but it was one of those meant to things.

  7. Yup, escaping/cathartic release....I'm with you. Let it flow out. Don't worry about being late: I'm STILL reading the blogs. Been a busy week.


  8. I think this is definitely a worthwhile topic as well. Thanks for sharing, I think you're right that there is an element of escapism in every story. But when we come back to this world with our eyes a little wider, able to see more truth and beauty, then the escape is totally worth it.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  9. Writing to escape is one reason I write too :) And thanks for the comments on my blog today about swearing. I loved what you had to say!

  10. There's not really a better reason to write. There may be other reasons, different reasons, but not better ones.

  11. I think escapism is why we all started to write. After all, escapism is why we all started to read in the first place.

    The goals you mention, writing to renew/refresh others, are important, and are what propels you forward as a real writer.

  12. Like you, I want to write the books that I long to read but cannot find. Great post, Roland

  13. Writing to escape is a huge motivator for me, too. I love adventure and to feel uplifted by a some higher fight or purpose, so that comes out a lot in what I read and what I write. Your last few sentences sum it up brilliantly.

  14. Well, I'm sorry that you had so much you felt you needed to escape from, but glad that it's not true anymore! Thanks for sharing this peek at your origins with us.


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