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Monday, November 22, 2010

"Is There Anybody Out There?"

In response to Arisia's plaintive cry on Saturday morning, I wrote—

Well, more honestly, I started to write a column, but was preempted by OTOGU. Great-Grandmama has decided to fly up and spend Thanksgiving week with my family, and as a result all other plans for the past weekend gave way to a frenzy of manic house-cleaning in anticipation of her arrival. Great-Grandmama will try to sneak through the TSA checkpoints disguised as a 92-year-old stroke victim who needs a walker to be ambulatory. We'll let you know how that turns out.

In belated answer to Arisia's question, then: yes, we're still out here, and yes, we're still at least thinking about and discussing the possible futures of The Friday Challenge. But Kersley is swamped with a new job, school, and family life; Henry's wife, Audrey, is responding well to treatment and making progress but still has a long way to go; and my wife, Karen, began chemotherapy last week. If you're wondering: yes, chemo is everything you've ever heard it was. And more.

The more I think about these things, though, the more I find myself wanting to return to first principles. In counterpoint to most writer's sites, The Friday Challenge was never supposed to be about me, my life, or my cult of personality—or by extension, anyone else's private life, either. It was supposed to be a place where writers, aspiring writers, and those who enjoy the written word could get together to share news, provide encouragement, and discuss ideas.

Ergo, here is the idea that I would like to see us discuss, not in the comments on this post, but after a little more thought and reflection and in a series of major guest pieces to be posted in the weeks to come. Simply stated: Why do we write?

I mean, let's face it. It takes something... special ...to take time away from the people and things of here and now to spend it spinning tales of things imaginary, and something even more special to ask other people to spend their time reading that which you have written.

So why do you do it? Why do you write? What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

The topic is now open. Give it some thought, write your answer, and then send it to either me or Henry at the email addresses in the left sidebar. (Yes, we know that drop.io is going extinct shortly. No, we haven't come up with a replacement yet.) We can't guarantee when we'll run your post, but assuming your answer is not, "I @#$(*&ing write @#$&ing stories to give full-@#(*&$#@ing vent to my @#($*&ing untreated Tourette's syndrome," we will run it.

Thanks, and kindest regards,
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