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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why We Write

This week: Kersley Fitzgerald

Oy, if this doesn’t turn out to be the biggest load of navel-gazing in the world, I’ll consider it a success.

I write because I can’t talk. I’m mean, of course I can emit sounds out of my mouth that sometimes bear resemblance to the English language, but that doesn’t mean that the intent always gets through. Or often gets through. I’m a deep, introspective thinker who can go from Twinkies to wormholes in three seconds and not be able to verbalize how. My amazing husband is not only a master communicator, he’s a master listener. He’s one of the few people with the patience to sit and listen until I get out what I mean to say. I’m a lucky duck.

I started to write…stuff…about ten years ago when my sister ("cheesentoast" AKA: Sara) and a co-worker ("mangycat") introduced me to Yahoo. We had a little writers’ group, with my ma, and we’d write joint stories. Then Sara introduced me to LiveJournal, where I could write navel-gazing things and people would actually read them.

But I didn’t know anything about writing. I’d had enough English honors classes in high school to be able to skip it in college. My time in the Air Force was spent learning how to cram a year’s worth of accomplishments into ten lines. Writing on the blog gave me the luxury of being able to spend time trying to articulate what I meant without worrying about the other person getting up to make a sandwich. Which I’m sure they did, but it didn’t break the flow of my writing.

In 2007, an equaintance from Fort Worth who has severe MS challenged everyone on her LJ Flist to do NaNo. I’m the only one who accepted. She wound up dropping out (severe MS, remember), but I plugged away. The next month, a well-known Christian fantasy writer started coming to our small church. I overheard her talking to a friend that she had a writers’ group for kids’/YA novels. I shamelessly begged to be allowed to join.

Was it really that long ago? I switched groups to another of hers last year. The groups provide unconditional encouragement as well as accountability -- I feel like I’m wasting my time if I don’t bring something to read.

I used to write because I had so many questions -- and a few answers -- that I wanted to get out into the world. I think I’m at the point now where I just want to tell a good story that people will like to read. I’m sure that will evolve into something else, later. But here’s a secret: I have to write. Depression runs deep through both sides of my family, and it killed my dad. If I’m writing, I rarely get depressed. Even Major Tom notices the difference. I can’t tell you why cranking out a scene about how an orc finds his pixie-pup in a dumpster after he chased a car seven blocks can chase away the blues, but it does. Writing is frustrating and aggravating, and publishing seems to be an unreachable, mythical beast, but I can handle frustrating.

In the end, writing has given me a whole lot more than it’s taken, including association with all you fine hobbitses (and hirsute elves).
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