Okay, okay, not only writers. Artists of all kinds. Musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers... Still. It's such a grand statement. WRITERS WILL SAVE THE WORLD. Where did it come from? From this place where love is born. Or, more mundane, from my necessity to answer the same interview question over and over and over again. "Why do you write?" Another variation of this I get asked is, "What do you hope to tell your readers?" Or, in case of ROSEHEAD, simply because it's a kids book, although both kids and adults read it, "What are you hoping to teach young readers?" or "What examples are you setting for children?" or "What morals do you hope..." I won't even continue, otherwise I'll bore you to tears.
I've been thinking hard lately about these questions and about why, why, WHY at every interview the same ones come up. What is it that drives people to ask this? And how can I answer? There are other questions too, larger questions, like, "Are you hoping to do something profound with your books?" Or, "What are you doing to better the humanity?" There are variations of those, with the same main idea.
WHY THE HELL DO YOU WRITE, GIRL?
WHY NOT HAVE A NORMAL JOB AND VACATIONS AND OTHER STUFF NORMAL PEOPLE DO??
I'll answer you. And I think I'll answer like this in every single interview after.
I write to change the world.
Simple. I write to make people feel. We've forgotten how to feel, with our beautifully erected houses and perfectly soundproof and waterproof cars and protection walls we erect online in fear of trolls and spammers and all sorts of weirdoes who might be eyeing us with saliva dripping out of their delirious crooked grins. Oh, the horror! We better build another fence, and another, and another, and stay safe. Oh, so very safe. Maybe we even shouldn't have relationships at all. Hey, those hurt. We got hurt so many times, we better not do it again. We better not trust anyone. Maybe we should just be alone. That's it. We will sit safely in our safe houses and when we feel lonely, we will safely watch TV (where shit happens to other people, not to us) or safely browse safe internets that we can turn off the second they become unsafe. And then we will sit in the dark, utterly alone and unhappy and wonder, why, why, why do we feel so awful?
So we get busy.
We busy ourselves with work, thinking we're doing something meaningful, and all the while sensing a hole growing inside us, bigger and bigger, filling it with alcohol, or gambling, or smoking weed, or watching porn, or doing harder and harder drugs, until one day we get so depressed, we want to take our lives, because we can't live like this anymore.
How did this happen?
We forgot how to feel. We live in the times when our fear of vulnerability has dominated us. We have gotten so safe, we might as well not get born at all. There is nothing else to experience. But we crave it, crave it like mad, so it comes out in all kinds of disorders and cancers and diseases and horrid crimes and other ways we are screaming to each other, "Hey! I hurt! I want to be loved! Someone love me! Please!"
Books. Books are that hand that can touch you and hold you and make you feel. Stories. Fiction. Super heroes. Dragons. Monsters and princesses and evil queens and noble kings and robots and talking cats and carnivorous houses and living planets. Books are packed with characters that feel, that's all they do, feel, and we read about them and empathize with them. We feel again. We let go of stress and loneliness and hurt. We forget everything and we live in that imagined world, feeling so much. It's like a concentrated pill of love. We swallow it and get a shock that freezes our brain and expands out heart, makes it grow ten sizes bigger.
That's what we, writers, do. That's why we write. We feel so much, and we want you to feel too. We want you to wake up. We want you to remember that you can empathize with people. That you care. You care for both the gruesome villain and the beautiful maiden, and you learn to love. You learn that you can love anyone, because nobody is perfect. We all do bad stuff, then we apologize (or not), do good stuff, screw up again. It's life.
There are no morals in books.
Hell, I write my books for myself. I don't want to write for myself something that will teach me how to behave properly or anything like that. I don't even think about it. I just pour our my everything, every emotion I feel. And I hope that I can make you feel too. Drop the walls. Let go of your fear. Open to others. Know this: they're afraid of you too, as much as you're afraid of them, if not worse. If we all wrote books without the thought of any gain at all, but simply wanting to share what we feel, and if we only managed to touch one other person, only one, life would be worth it. That one person will touch another one, and another one, and, like a chain reaction, it will sweep everyone off their feet and make us all happy again. Maybe not all at once, and not for long—because it will take time for us to bring down our defenses—but at least for a few moments. For those moments I write. For that word from a reader, "I loved your story," or "You made me feel better tonight," or "You made me laugh."
And that is why, ladies and gentlemen, artists (you see, I'm including all artists) will save the world. That is why a silly dance in a tutu is as important as a campaign against hunger or a fight for world peace. That is my part of bringing a smile to people's faces, if only for a few seconds, to make them them feel loved.