One of Robin Sullivan’s recent posts reminded me that I’ve not really done much here lately except stop by and tell you what’s happening. Some people are getting insights into the why of my brain with the Talking On My Morning Walk podcast but that’s pretty scattered. I’m about to dive into another month of frenetic activity – and while I should be writing – I also need to stop and take stock.
“Why” is an interesting word. Why do I write? Why do I tell stories? Why do I tell the stories I do?
I believe in the power of the everyday hero. I am tired of the “we have to blow up the world” stories. I remember the wonder and joy I found in Heinlein, Bradbury, and Asimov. I miss those stories and I want them to come back. I figure the only to get them to come back is to write them.
To be clear, I don’t really remember the stories that well. What I remember is how they made me feel. What I know is that, as a kid, I found them strangely empowering, wonderfully engrossing. They were stories about people I could grow up to be — people I might want to grow up to be. I want to tell stories that give those feelings to others. As Hugh McLeod says, “The market for something to believe in is infinite.” I like that idea–that people want something to believe in. If I can inspire them to find it through my story telling, that seems – for lack of a less corny phrase – a worthy goal.
Key to this effort is telling the stories I want to read. A few people are very upset by the ending of Owner’s Share. I understand. It’s an upsetting ending. It’s not a Hollywood ending. It’s not happily-ever-after. It is the story I needed to tell. It’s the story I wanted to read. While some are wondering how this “something to believe in” meshes with the ending of the series, I think it makes perfect sense.
Before I wrote Owner’s Share, listeners made me promise not to kill him. The last Harry Potter book had just come out and there was a great deal of angst over the ending of that book. My listeners didn’t want that to happen to Ishmael. The more I thought about it, the better I liked the idea of continuing on, of telling more stories – different stories – set in this universe with Ishmael doing the exploration. The idea of “something to believe in” kept ringing in my head. How does one pick up the scattered pieces of a shattered life and move on? How do you find something to believe in?
These aren’t trivial questions, but are they questions that we ‘common people’ have to deal with. Ishmael is an Everyman. For all that many find him to be a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu, as the case may be), he’s still a common guy. The ending of Owner’s Share leaves him with something to believe in — and a new course to follow. He has a new guide and a new outlook. He has to do what anybody would have to do. Carry on.
For me, that’s a much more interesting challenge than happily ever after and it’s why I think the next series will be better. I’ve got new stories, and a new outlook to tell those stories with. I’m really looking forward to telling them and I hope you’ll all be with me when I do.
Oh, why do I write?
Because I have to.