Tuesday, May 16, 2006

That's Why

I've been lucky. No one has ever asked me why I write trash, or when I'm going to write a real book, or pooh-poohed romance. The one time someone referred to romantic fiction as trash, she was expressing delight to find out that I write it.

But there's still, in the back of my mind, a part of me that feels a need to justify my choice of career. It's a frivolous career. It isn't a noble minimum-wage job I work hard at just to feed my kids. It's not a noble service career where I'm working hard at a low-paying job to help abused wives and children, or applying my medical prowess in countries ravaged by civil war. It's not even writing to expose the truths of human existence.

I write to entertain, and there is nothing more frivolous and meaningless than entertainment.

But is it, really?

I was just listening to The Signal, a podcast dedicated to getting more Firefly TV and/orSerenity movies made. The 5/3 episode contained a conversion story that is unique beyond bearing.

Most of us Browncoats have similar converstion stories. I missed most of the TV show because of Fox screwing around with the schedule and not airing the pilot and blah blah blah. I saw The Train Job when it aired in 2002 and The Message on the Sci Fi Channel right before the movie came out, and they were okay episodes. I saw the movie, and immediately, the next day, bought the TV show DVDs. I loaned them to friends after watching all the episodes but was sorry I did because I wanted to rewatch them, and that has never happened with any other TV show. I bought nine copies of Serenity when it came out on DVD and gave it as Christmas and birthday gifts, converting at least half of those people to Browncoats.

Anyway, this man on the podcast had a similar, though less immediate conversion. He was in the midst of it--had achieved movie fandom but hadn't watched more than the first episode of the TV show--when he got word his three-year-old niece was dying.

Through their vigil and in their subsequent grief, he shared Firefly with his middle-aged, Hispanic aunts and uncles when they needed relief from the unimaginable pain of watching a child die.

And that's why I write what I write. Sure, I want people to read my books even when their lives are happy and going well. I want to entertain purely for entertainment's sake. But I want to write books, too, that will help people of all ages and races escape from the stresses that life brings us. If I can ease one person's pain for one day...well, isn't that just as noble as feeding the poor?


Becka said...

Amen, Natalie! :D My DH and I are avid Browncoats, and are considering buying another copy of the Firefly DVD's, if only to have a loaner copy and a dedicated copy at home. Seems like those babies are always loaned out. We have personally coverted all of our friends into Browncoats, and now WE worship at the altar of Joss Whedon (as you said in one of your prior posts, but insert JJ Abrams here. LOL) But we are original Browncoats, meaning, we watched the show from Day 1. Hardcore, right here, baby! LOL

Once we saw Firefly, we immediately bought all seasons of Buffy and Angel (because we thought they were silly and never watched them on TV). Now, we believe that whatever Joss touches is gold. Yup, he's Midas.

But on that note, it's kind of like finding an author that you really love and going back to find all of their books. You're right, entertainment is a form of escape, and I'm not ashamed to say that I write to entertain myself first, because let's face it. I have the boring life of a home-schooling stay-at-home mom.

Where's the excitement? Where's the thrill? Where's the beefcake? (Sorry, DH LOL)

But yes, being a writer definately touches people, and that's ultimately what I've always wanted to do with my work. People have been entertained since the first man walked on two legs. And I don't believe that being an entertainer (and yes, authors are entertainers) is frivolous. I believe entertainers are the ones who make you think, and have the power to change the world.

So don't sell yourself or your romance library short. :)


Natalie Damschroder said...

Becka, what a great comments post. That's better than my original post!

*humph* No more posting on my blog. You make me look bad. LOL

(Yes, I actually have two altars at my house, one for JJ, one for Joss--haven't bothered with Buffy, but if you say it's worth it, I'll give it a try)