I had a lot of ideas for what my first blog post would be about. I could have talked about my latest book series for kids, Animal Quest, or my latest picture book, Escape to Cloud Castle: A Three Little Pigs Adventure, illustrated by a brilliant artist named Josh Mull. But instead I just want to talk about why writing, especially for pleasure, is such an important part of my life.
You see, it isn't about the money or the fame ... writing is about your health. I don't mean your physical health (that's what treadmills are for), I mean your mental health. Our world is a complicated place, and we are just one small cog in the great divine mechanism that makes the world go. But that doesn't mean our lives are pointless, or worse: mundane. Through literature we can find special meaning for our lives. We can tell our story, express our own special purpose in this world, and influence others for the greater good in the process. I don't write for that last reason exclusively, but let's face it: a good novel or short story does put us in a special place, a place of empathy for others, and let's us walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Because all fictional characters must have, above all else, a sense of realism about them. They must feel, in other words, like people we might meet in our classrooms, shopping malls, or places of employment. Real people, having adventures that pit their strengths and weaknesses up against a great challenge. Noticing how fictional characters react to events--how they rise to the occasion or fall to their knees in failure--gives us perspective on what we're capable of. And that can make us stronger.
Fiction is powerful and empowering. And that's why I write.