Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Fighting the Good Fight

Once upon a time...

All the best stories begin with 'Once upon a time...'

Except this one. I think I want to talk about why we write, but maybe lighten my poor brain. We'll see...

So, I'm wondering, here at 5am, why we write. It's not a simple question, and, I suspect, it differs for each writer. I don't know about each writer, but I got to wondering because I remember what writing used to be like, when I first started haphazardly bashing keys.

Here's some thoughts, then. Just because, you know, I got to wondering what I'm doing all this for.

Firstly, it's a selfish need. A drive. It's something that can't be denied. If you have ideas, you get them out however you can. You draw, paint, I suppose it's about passion.

My passion, I think, comes from a few different things. Depression and mania drive me to write, often. I haven't been manic for a while. I've been low, and writing can lift that. Cathartic, but ultimately palliative.

You can't cure depression, but you can rage against it.

I've written before about the BLACK DOG. Mine's an evil bitch, but when she goes back into the pit, there's a time of stability when I'm pretty productive. But sometimes she drags me right down there with her.

So, it's about me? Of course it is. Writing is, by and large, a narcissistic calling.

I fight my illness with words. Sometimes my brand of bi-polar disorder is hungry, and I feed it with words.

But it isn't all about me. It's about fighting the good fight. Fiction can be about something larger than self, too. Mine isn't only about me, coping. It's about the fight. I think my favourite fiction is.

It's about black and white, light and dark, good and evil. It's about men and women rising up and being better than they can be, about people in adversity discovering their strength.

High falluting for genre fiction? I don't think so. We're losing luminaries in genre fiction. Bleeding out. One day, these giants will all be gone. Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson spring to mind, but of course there are more. People die but writers leave their words, their thoughts, and their contribution to the good fight behind.

Not sure I said what I wanted to say. Just that, for me, the best fiction is about something that transcends the words that form the thought. Terry Pratchett's fiction, for example, is astonishingly humane.

I don't know if the light wins in the end everytime. I hope Iain Banks travels beyond the stars and Carl Sagan teaches compassion in heaven. I do know that when the good ones pass, they leave the world a little brighter for being here.

Love you.