Trevin asked me an important question the other day: “Why do you write? What do you hope to fix?” (I know, that’s technically two questions.)
At the time, I was emotionally distraught and had no answer to give. All I knew was that the idea of giving up, or letting my art fall from focus, filled my belly with dread.
But I’ve had time to think since then.
Books provided me with my first strong female role models, the kinds who could do for themselves and didn’t measure their self-worth by their relationships with men. Books gave me my first look at what non-toxic masculinity was like. Books allowed me to explore forgotten lands, feel the wind of places I’d never visit. Books gave me a country where social justice was normal, where bigotry was the minority, where the guilty party couldn’t buy a lighter sentence.
In books, I found my beliefs distilled and mirrored back to me in a place and time where I was only supported in private. In books, I found epic struggles that made it easier to ignore how my ideas and feelings were ignored, simply because I’d been born female.
I write because the written word was the first place I could express my ideas in their entirety without fear of dismissal or interruption. I write because I want to see more media with strong heroines and heroes who know how to feel. I write because someone, somewhere needs his or her ideas of real justice mirrored back. I write because those who’ve come before me have given me gifts that I cannot keep to myself, not in good conscience.
I write because the written word is one of the places I can go to learn and grow. I write because the paper draws me in, and ignoring its call leaves me depressed and angry. I write because I can go shopping and come home with a hundred ideas. Those ideas need a place to nest.
In short, I write because to do anything else would be a disservice to myself and the precious gifts I’ve acquired through doing so.