Yesterday I released a “Behind the Scenes Video”. (It’s below.)
A few reasons drove me to create it.
First of all, when I was a kid, I didn’t even know writers were still alive. But in this day and age, the internet has made artists in all mediums – authors, musicians, sculptors, so on – immediately accessible in a manner which has broken down a lot of walls for today’s youngsters. I find this to be a VERY good thing. (Though I do get a heck of a lot of fan mail from kids who ask me everything from “Are you rich?” to “If I send you 18 questions, will you fill them in for my book report – which is due tomorrow so hurry please?”)
But why is this good? Because we can be role models, points of inspiration. Now, I don’t mean that in some sort of hubris-laden manner; I mean it in a way that comes from a place of having a giant vacuum. See, role models like this were absent from my young life. I never met a writer when I was a kid. I never had contact with a book author. And every piece of text which crossed my school desk felt like it was written by someone long since turned to worm food (as the Bard might say). So essentially, if I can inspire a young person to believe that they too can be a writer then heck, I want to do just that.
Making myself available in an easy-to-meet format (a la this video) is one way of me doing that.
I also feel as if writing gets a bad rap. I mean how often are young people exposed to the joy of writing? The smiles? The laughs and the creativity and the effortlessness of just being oneself in a light-hearted, easy-going manner. In many ways, the job of “author” connotes a sense of brooding, of dreariness. Young kids think writing a book is all toil and and pain and soul-wrenching agony. Well, that might be true for some – and I certainly have my bare knuckle brawls with my own books – but overall, I love writing and wanted to show the fun side to it.
Is that so bad? I mean NCLB and the bubble test mentality is bludgeoning any sense of finding joy in intellectual work. Perhaps this video is my little way of firing back, of letting young people know that, “Books, literacy, writing and reading are fun – and I am having the time of my life living in this world… and so can you.”
Mocking the stuffy side of author-hood is definitely the them of the video. And it’s good for one and all because where there is no joy, there isn’t really much of anything else that will feed the human soul.