We get to write stories!

I was thinking the other day about a film I saw a few months back. It was “The Rookie” starring Dennis Quaid. If you haven’t seen it, it is the true story of a middle-aged man who gets a second chance to try out for major league baseball. He leaves his family and job behind and hits the road. At some point, when things get tough, he loses sight of his goals. Disillusioned, he considers quitting. While out walking on day, contemplating his future, he passes a group of school kids playing a game of baseball. He realizes that these children are playing for the sheer joy of it. In a “eureka” moment he turns to a colleague and says: “Do you know what we get to do today Brooks? We get to play baseball!”

Sometimes when I’m writing I forget why I started in the first place. I get so caught up in the desire to succeed that it becomes a chore and I lose sight of the sheer joy of writing. I mean, how many people can say that they get to create worlds in their spare time? We start with a blank sheet or paper or a flashing cursor on an empty screen and before long we have created a living, breathing universe full of living, breathing characters with their own distinct personalities and lives. Without us, these worlds would not exist. Without our imaginations these characters would never have a chance to share their fears, triumphs, loves and disappointments with anyone other than ourselves.

These worlds may not be real in the physical sense but that does not diminish their value. I don’t know about you but when I read a book, the world becomes a part of my experience. I may not be able to reach out and touch it but the memories of that world are as real to me as my memories of anything else. Lord of the Rings is sheer fantasy but, in my mind, the Shire is as real as any other place I have ever visited. When I walk through a field or reach the top of a hill, I am reminded of any number of hills and fields from my past but also, somewhere deep inside, I also remember the Shire and the Hobbits. The Shire only ever existed inside Tolkien’s head — until he wrote it down and others had the chance to experience what the author had dreamed up.

Writing is the ultimate creative pursuit and we can use it to enrich the experiences and memories of whoever desires to follow us down the road we have walked in our imaginations. What a privilege that is, to build a universe and then make it part of the history of another person. What a joy that is. To paraphrase Dennis Quaid’s character: “You know what we get to do today? We get to write stories!”

About P.A.Baines

P.A.Baines writes computer programs for a living but would much rather be writing Christian speculative fiction, which he does whenever he gets the opportunity. Educated in Africa, he is studying towards a degree in Creative Writing through Buckinghamshire New University in England. He enjoys asking "what if?" but is tired of how speculative fiction deals with religion in general and the God of the Bible in particular. His stories are for Christians who enjoy science fiction but who normally avoid the genre because of its tendency towards an atheistic world-view. His aim is to write entertaining and thought-provoking stories that stretch the imagination, but which keep God in His rightful place as Lord over all creation. P.A.Baines is British but currently lives in a small corner of the Netherlands with his wife and two children and various wildlife. He spends what little spare time he has keeping fit, watching films, and playing computer games with his children. He does most of his reading via audio books, which he listens to while commuting to and from work on his trusty bicycle. He speaks reasonable Dutch and is in the process of learning French.

2 comments on “We get to write stories!

  1. So, so true, awesome post!

  2. Amen, brother. We have a joyful calling indeed. Sometimes we focus too much on whether we’re nearing publication and not enough on the privilege of creation.

    I keep this pinned on my bulletin board (it’s from _The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit_ by Eizabeth Lyon): “The very fact that you have brought a story into existence for which there is no duplication is in itself a gift to the world deserving of respect.”

    I struggle to remember that this is a joy and a privilege, even if I never have more than a dozen readers.

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