Posts tagged ‘people’

August 10th, 2010

Why I Write

by Madeleine Rex

We all have those moments. The moments when you’re thinking: Why in the gosh darned world am I burning my eyeballs staring at this computer screen?

Well, first off: If you’re burning your eyeballs, you should probably dim the brightness, but I know what you mean.

It’s at times like those that we have to remind ourselves why we do this. Why we sit down and crank out words, even if it feels like we’re stuffing rat feces down our throats (although it usually isn’t that bad). We can say it’s because we want to be published or famous or a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t all sound amazing. But there’s more to it. Because material things like that wouldn’t motivate you to keep going on a bad day. It simply isn’t fulfilling enough.

I write because it feels good – natural. It’s something that comes to me and brings with it a warmth, an excitement that spreads through my fingers, into the keyboard, and onto the Word document. I have troubles. Sometimes I just really don’t want to dedicate the time, and I always struggle to start at the beginning of the day, but once I get into the groove (and most often, I do), there’s no denying the fact that I’m meant for this. That writing is something that gives me pleasure, that lets me express myself, get to know people, and create lives. And that makes me happy. That makes me joyful.

I write because, although it certainly isn’t easy or uncomplicated, it’s worth the trouble. Those hours I spend on occasion completely engrossed in my book – those are worth the struggles. That little bit of pride I feel at cranking out a good, healthy, strong word count – it feels good. And I’m thinking: Even if I could give this up, even if I could try to forget what this feels like and spend my hours being a normal kid, why would I? Why would I when it would be harder to forget than keep going. And, honestly, what we do as writers is a good thing. Spreading stories, emotions, and people. Sending characters into the world that people will connect with, possible find a friend in. This is good. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – we’re giving readers more opportunities to love.

And why on earth would we try not to do that?

Because, mope around as we might, those of us who really love this know that giving it up would be more painful/frustrating/difficult than working at it. We know that this ability we have to weave words together, create people, and potentially make something beautiful, funny, and exciting is special. If you’re not taking advantage of this gift, you’re being ridiculous.

If we can do this and our lives give us the time, we should be. It’s only right that we should share what we can do with the world – because people like stories. People like finding friends in unexpected places. And most people like loving books and characters. People love to connect.

And we can give them that.

So, ultimately, I write because I know that I should, because deep-down I want to, and I can.

And why the heck shouldn’t I? It’s wonderful, this gift.

So, when you get right down to it: Why do you write?

July 18th, 2010

My 2D and Paper & Ink Families

by Madeleine Rex

Please don’t tease me for using Castle examples again. You’re wasting your time. You should be recording re-runs, becoming obsessed, renting season one, watching season two online, and waiting eagerly for season three (because that’s really making good use of your time).

I’m back! Wondering where I was? I had to link that “Castle” up there, wound up on their site, and became engrossed in the Ask Castle videos (there’s some good writing advice in there!). Back to the post…

People make me happier in life than almost anything else. They make living a joy, because loving them makes the entire world seem better. This applies mostly to real people, but characters have nearly the same affect on me. My 2D and paper & ink families add laughter, smiles, and occasionally tears to my life, making it glisten brighter. People, fictional or not, are an integral part of the human experience. We have the ability to love so strongly. It’s an astounding gift, because, when you get right down to it, love is what makes life worth living.

I’m using Castle and Alexis as examples because I frequently tell my dad that they were misplaced. In my ideal reality, they would have been my uncle and cousin. Watching them makes me ache for their friendship. I can’t stop thinking of all the way we’re similar (and, best of all, Castle’s a writer!). They would both fit so well in my family that I feel like they’re missing. Their father-daughter relationship reminds me of the one I have with my dad; the ways I relate to them are never-ending.

I’m a crier. Really. I cry from happiness, excitement, frustration, sadness, etcetera. Oftentimes, I cry when I read or watch a TV show. I become so invested in the characters, so in love with them (not in the romantic way), that watching them go through hard times or happy ones resonates incredibly with me.

As readers, we hone our skills as people-lovers. Have you ever realized that the more a character has at risk, or the more likable they are, the faster we read? The more torn we feel when we’re done? Happy that we experienced what we did while reading but simultaneously wishing we hadn’t read it at all because we miss it so much? Even when the plot isn’t quite thrilling, the characters can hold a story on their own. Reading helps us to appreciate the little things, hold back presumptions and wait to see what people are really like. From reading, we learn that people can change, we witness it happen. We give more people the benefit of the doubt. If we’re not doing these things, we need to. We don’t have an excuse because every book we read teaches us that value of people. Every person is valuable to the story, every person is valuable in our lives, whether to teach us a lesson, to help us strengthen our patience, or to give us more reason to love.

As writers, we have the opportunity to create friends. To add more people to the world. We’re giving readers the opportunity to love more. We’re teaching ourselves about the ins and outs of human nature and giving ourselves the opportunity to appreciate what people are, to appreciate their weaknesses, because we learn that even their weaknesses contribute to their character. Most importantly, we are creating people that will resonate with a reader, give them goosebumps, make them cry, make them laugh, make them love life a little bit more.

These 2D and paper & ink families are crucial. Imagine all the people out there. Tucked within book covers or scripts. People who might just be our meant-to-be cousins. Or our role models. Or mentors, crushes, our bosom friends.

Open a book, read. Turn on the television, watch. Open a Word document, write.

Create people. Meet people. Love them or hate them, but let them contribute something to your life.