Saturday, April 7, 2012

Not that anyone has ever asked

You never know: they might.

Why don't I drink alcohol?

1: I don't want to.

2: Deliberately ingesting an addictive, mood-altering substance for non-medicinal purposes is stupid.

3: I was raised Mormon.

4: No one in my family drinks.

5: Except for my great-great-grandfather. (Now dead.) (Unless he's a zombie, but no one ever mentions that kind of detail at family reunions.)

6: He beat his wife.

7: His son became a prohibition agent and broke up the illegal stills his father and brothers had hidden in the woods.

8: My great-great-grandfather and his other sons were so angry they tried to kill him.

9: He had to flee for his life and change his name. His own wife refused to come with him. He left everything behind.

10: That man was my great-grandfather.

11: Why would I ever drink?

12: Why would you?

13: Why don't I have something better to talk about on a Saturday afternoon?

14: I'm going to go write something now.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Not-Really-Less-Traveled-Road

Warning: Very long post. Take breaks as needed.

Since this blog represents my half-hearted attempt to begin building a platform, it seems appropriate to make two announcements.

First: I finished my rough draft! Hooray! (Yes. I bought ice cream for the occasion. Coconut Chocolate Cheescake Chunk, or something along those lines.) I hope to publish this book before my twentieth birthday later this year, so that when I'm rich and famous and people write autobiographies about me, I'll have a claim to the teenage prodigy label - even if the book doesn't actually sell any copies while I'm a teenager. You have to plan these things, you know.

First, part two: I will publishing this book under a pen name, yet to be definitely, no-going-back, I-will-never-change-my-mind determined.

Second: The reason I will publish my first work of fiction under a pen name is because I have finally stepped onto a rather well traveled road. (More accurately, I have decided to step onto the road at some point in the near future. It's the decision that counts.)

My real name is now reserved for works of nonfiction, specifically LDS-Christian nonfiction. This is because even though a nonfiction writer could technically write under a pen name, it would be embarrassing to be invited to speak and then stand up and be introduced by a false name. Pen names aren't really false names, but still, I can see where it might be awkward. (You have to plan these things.) Being introduced under a pen name as a fiction writer would be different. Everyone understands that fiction writers make things up for a living, up to and including our names.

Why have I, the zombie/alien/magic/dragon/psychic/sci-fi/mystery/thriller writer, decided to branch out into inspirational nonfiction?

Because I have to do something.

When I read about teenage girls selling their bodies because their boyfriend manipulates them 'because we need the money'.... When I read about children neglected and abused and forgotten.... When I read about people living in hate, shackled and weighed down and trapped by it, and forced by their hate to live small, victimized lives.... When I see homeless people slogging down the street, and no one meets their eyes.... When I see so much misery, how can I keep doing nothing?

Yet there's nothing I can do. I'm nineteen. I am greatly blessed, but I am far from rich. Working full time and trying to start a career does not give me the kind of time to throw myself into the whole-hearted service that might make a difference, might change lives, might ease the aching in my heart. I have no fairy godmother who can wave a wand at my command and make it all better. I'm not from a family of politically powerful people who can start movements, pass laws, or lead national protests. I'm basically, by every measure you can think of, no one at all.

In fifty years, or maybe even twenty, if I'm spectacularly fortunate, I'll have the experience, time, money, and influence to change the world.

But who can wait that long?

More importantly, if I just ignore it all for now, and focus on achieving my own dreams, can I really believe that in fifty years I'll be the kind of person I would be right now if I had the means?

I have to do something.

I'm good at writing. It doesn't take money to write. Inspirational nonfiction is another word for strong opinions, and I have lots of those.

I want people to be happy. I see the sadness, desperation, anger, hate, misery, and so much of it is self-inflicted, and I just want to grab people by the shoulders and say "Don't you know that you can be happy?! There's a better life! You deserve more than this. You're a child of God. There's so much more for you."

Maybe my nonfiction won't make a difference. Maybe in fifty years I'll be known only by my pen name, and people will say "Who?" when you talk about Rachel Wicker, Inspirational Writer.

But I'll be doing something. If it makes a difference to even one person, it will be worth it. The worth of a soul is great.