When I worked at Waldenbooks, I had a regular come in, always asking for SF&F. He was a local cop, and he was on his department’s version of SVU (special victims unit). That’s the unit typically involved in some of the most soul-sucking crimes. I could tell if this guy had a really rough day just from his eyes. He would come in, wave at me and whoever else was working, then go right back to the SF&F section. I’d go talk with him about new releases, or old classics. Got him hooked on OLD MAN’S WAR. Some Sanderson. Butcher. He said he read SF&F because it helped him calm down from a bad day, and helped him escape from some of the stuff he had to deal with.
I write for that guy.
Another regular at the store was a high-school kid–though he was, like, six-foot-gazillion. He loved hardbacks. He especially loved Jim Butcher. In fact, it’s because if his excitement for Butcher that I started reading The Dresden Files. This kid couldn’t help but share his love of books, and he couldn’t wait for the next book to captivate him.
I write for that guy.
When I lived in Mexico, I met some of the poorest of poor. I helped them build their homes, helped them when they were struggling with their businesses, and sometimes I just talked with them. I loved talking with the teenagers and twenty-somethings. One of the things we could always talk about was super heroes. No matter how tight things were, they always squeezed out some money so they could get comics–sometimes in English, so they struggled reading them. They loved to read that stuff. Loved talking about it. Loved to swept away from stories.
I write for them.
My Mom and Dad got me reading before I was ten. Lloyd Alexander. CS Lewis. Tolkien. Brooks. They encouraged me to read, and when I was done to read some more.
I write for them, and for parents like them everywhere. And for my kids and kids like me everywhere.
Maybe you see what I’m driving at here. It isn’t that I don’t care where you are from, or who you are. Quite the opposite. I love to hear about different people, and where they come from. It’s those differences that make up all the awesomeness of life. We all come from different places, but so many of us find our way into Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror and everywhere in between. Guy, girl, black, white, religious, not-religious, gay, straight, robot, alien…
Yeah, all that matters. It makes you who you are. It makes me who I am.
I write for you.
Not in the high-and-mighty way. But the, “Geez I hope this scares people” or “Wonder if I can get a reader to laugh here?” way. I wanna tell stories because I’ve heard so many.