I recently did an interview where a book blogger asked the following question:
“What’s the reason for your life? Have you figured out your reason for being here yet?”
I’ve done a number of interviews before, both in my prior life as a technologist and in my current role as an author. Some questions are professional. What do you think of a certain technology trend? What’s your work schedule? Some questions are casual and fun: What do you do to relax? What foods do you snack on while writing? What’s your favorite color?
But this question made me think. I have many reasons for my life. Most have to do with my family and with the people I’ve touched and who have touched me. And I’ve been around long enough and done enough different things to not answer such a complex question with a simple answer. So I modified the question to be: What’s the reason for your life as a writer?
I was tempted to answer that it was just what I always wanted to do, but that’s a cop-out. The real question is why I feel that way.
I’m in the midst of writing the first draft of my fourth novel, the sequel to There Comes a Prophet. It’s the continuing saga of Orah and Nathaniel and their quest for truth in a future dystopian world. I recently finished the first hundred pages (yay!), but I’ve also chosen the quote at the start of the book. It’s from the TV Sci-fi series, Babylon 5, spoken by Delenn to the ship commander:
“Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain, perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside—that burn inside the stars themselves. We are star stuff. We are the Universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out.”
So what’s the reason for my writer’s life?
The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. I’ve accumulated far more questions than answers. I believe writers like me write because we’re star stuff, the universe trying to figure itself out.
David Litwack, author of There Comes a Prophet, Along the Watchtower, and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky