17 July 2019
Because It Isn't There
I'm going to give in to peer pressure and follow Steve Liskow, Michael Bracken, R.T. Lawton, and O'Neil De Noux in addressing the question: Why write?
* When I was in second grade I brought a pencil and notebook to school determined that I would write a new Winnie-the-Pooh story. I remember my shock in realizing that I had no idea how to do that. Why did I want to write? Because there were only two Pooh books and that clearly wasn't enough.
* In sixth grade our English teacher encouraged us to write short stories. I wrote a few spy stories (in slavish devotion to The Man From Uncle) and Mrs. Sonin, bless her heart, would let me read them to her after school while she graded papers. I hope to heaven she didn't listen because they were uniformly awful. Why did I write? Because I loved to read and wanted to add more stories to the world.
* While living in a dorm at graduate school I found time to write a novel, which I had the good sense not to submit anywhere. I still have the handwritten draft but, as Robert Benchley said about his diary, no one will see it as long as I have a bullet in my rifle. Why did I write? Because I wanted to be a writer and I needed something to do other than study cataloging.
* After three years of trying I sold a story to Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine. The rush I got from seeing my name in print gave me a reason to write for many years.
And other stuff happened, but that's enough.
Let's sum things up, shall we. Why do I write?
As Thomas Berger said: "Because it isn't there."