Why Fiction?

“Why waste your time writing fiction? Why don’t you expend all that creative energy writing something worthwhile – something that will actually help people?” Since the day I made known my desire to write for public consumption, I have been asked this question too many times to count. In all charity, those who ask it most likely mean well. But at the root of that question is an unspoken variation of the age-old rhetorical admonition: Get a real job and stop all this writing nonsense.

For a long time, as often happens with comments that rankle, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I might be missing something – that I might be squandering, or worse, bastardizing a gift from the Creator. I thought about why I do what I do, with what I believe to be honest introspection. I thought about it for, oh I don’t know, all of four or five minutes.

The results of that spelunking trek into the depths of my psyche brought forth a simple answer: I love to tell stories. I was a great liar as a child, a trait my sister insisted was important in a good story teller. F.Y.I. – I’m convinced the average non-fiction writer is probably a horrible liar, but that’s just a guess.

I’m not throwing mud at those who choose to write non-fiction. In fact, I enjoy reading thoughtful discourse, as well as biographical and historical works. I just don’t have the patience, or the research-oriented personality to produce that kind of thing.

Never one to burn bridges, however, I will say that future events might precipitate a change of mind. I might undertake a non-fiction project. After all, my life to date has been filled with hair-pin curves and switch-backs. I might decide to write a memoir.

Until then, I’ll keep on doing what I love to do. I’ll tell great whopping stories and keep writing fiction in hopes that it will offer someone somewhere a temporary escape from reality.