The Connection

Why do you write? It’s the question people sometimes get asked, with more frequency as they become more well-known as a writer, no doubt.

I’ve been writing stories since I was about ten. Always stories for myself, and sometimes my parents read them, and of course they were ghastly. Writing them, however, was as natural and as necessary as breathing, a consequence of reading so much and of being who I am.

When I was in high school, I discovered readers. That’s also when I discovered really good friends, and that’s what happened. You see, my friends and I all liked a certain rock group (no, I am NOT telling you which one, it’s too embarrassing. It was the 80’s!). So I started a story that involved me and my two best friends becoming backup singers for the band. (blush blush) Since this story was written by me, it of course took a hard right veer into speculative fiction land. Since it was written by a teenager, it also took a hard left turn into erotica land. And thus the damage was done.

You see, my friends read it. And it worked. It had an effect on them. It made them feel things, made them respond… they danced to my music. I had this power to make them feel what I felt inside the story. I will never forget the rush.

It’s been that way ever since. When my work is going well, when I’m in the middle of a powerful story, when the voices are really speaking through me, it’s as if something opens. Something in my heart opens wide, like a door to let the story through. You have to be careful, because that door’s open both ways–the world comes through right into it. But if you hold the door half-closed, you won’t get a good story out of it. The joy of having that door open and the music coming through is indescribable.

But it’s only half the power, the circuit incomplete. The writer truly needs the reader to put their own heart into the piece and do part of the work. When someone reads it and reacts the way you desire them to react, the circuit closes in lightning and fire. That connection is like a live wire, dancing at both ends, and it takes someone at each side to grab hold and complete the circle. Your passion, pain and pleasure went into the piece, and their passion, pain and pleasure comes back. Now that’s power. Not power over someone–power with someone.

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