By Morgan Hawke (Guest Blogger)
Truthfully? Because I couldn't stop if I tried. Everything I see, everything I do, everything I experience triggers a story in my head. It's kind of like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in that I'm constantly being distracted by every little thing, only I also seem to have the absolute focus of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder too. Basically I get a story idea from what's around me then quietly obsess on that idea -- to the exclusion of all else; people I'm with, bills that need to be paid... This obsession goes on for days, weeks, even months sometimes, and I quite literally can't think of anything else -- until I write it down. THEN my brain finally settles down and allows me to pay attention to the rest of the world. Until something else comes along to 'distract' me.
This is why I don't have cable on my TV. It's used purely as life-support for my DVD player and my VCR. I haven't watched TV programs (that aren't on DVD) in over six years.
Now then, if you want to know why I write 'stories'...? It started out as pure escapism. To say that my childhood sucked is an extreme understatement. Daddy was textbook sociopath, just like the guy on the TV series, "Dexter." Only Daddy didn't succeed in killing anyone. (For some reason I kept surviving.) Anyway... The safest place was out of sight, so books were my best friends, as was the space under my bed and my flashlight. When books weren't available, I had my imagination.
No one can shut the world out better than a child.
By the time I was fourteen, I was writing the better 'imaginings' down so I could 'think on them' more. When I was seventeen and a junior in high school, I decided to enter a region-wide short story contest on a whim, and wrote out a quick little horror story about a ghost dog. After-school sessions with a sympathetic English teacher helped me wrestle my grammar under control and I mailed it in. The story won the grand prize and was published in a small magazine.
It was seeing my name in print that made me realize that 'author' was the perfect profession for me -- the 'only' profession for me.
Unfortunately, this was back in 1980, before the PC and the internet were invented, so I had to learn the craft of writing the hard way. No word-processing or internet searching for tutorials for me. I had to hit the library and magazine racks for clues on how to write a proper story, and believe me, there wasn't much to find at all, and I had to use a typewriter. (I STILL hate that machine with a passion.) Today's aspiring author has it sooo much easier. (Lucky bastards...)
As an aside, Mom eventually divorced Daddy, but that didn't happen until the year after I won that writing contest.
Anyway... I guess you could say that the real reason I write is truthfully, childhood habit -- one I absolutely refuse to give up. Good thing I decided to make a career out of it, no?