On the Importance of Being a Writer

You, my dear writer, know your worth. But do you know how much you really matter, and for how many?

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I realize I have been taking for granted the ability to travel to any age of time and any place in the world, just by picking up the right volume. I feel like reading about Ancient Rome, so Kate Quinn books, where art thou? Or I am more in the mood of walking the meadows of 18th century England – hello, Miss Austen; or I need some raj opulence – board the steam ship to India with Xavier Moro’s heroine.

I’ve never been overly enthusiastic about travelling to exotic places, because I have seen many and more in books set in Africa, Latin America, Jamaica, etc.; I have never been completely disappointed of the shortcomings of our present, because I know the book on my nightstand holds a promise to take me back to times of great men and tragic heroism. Sometimes – not always, but sometimes – this is all I wish for. Past times sound so poetic and heroic, and in many ways they actually were.


Today I realized I cannot escape from the present without you. The aspirations of men back then seem much loftier, men themselves must have been more attractive with all that honor and responsibility to give wings to their strength and power. When I get all romantic and dreamy about past ages of heroes what do you think I do – I pick up a book, maybe one of yours!

The great escapism does not exist separate from the present world. If it’s not for the great skill of contemporary authors, there will be only so many tickets to another times and places, because the number of books about them will be limited. Even more importantly, as alluring as the past might be, we cannot be engulfed in a story about it and feel like we are living it, if we are not reading it in a language both suggestive to the context and close to what we hear everyday. As great as the classics are, reading archaically structured sentences only makes us feel remote and strange to the story they are telling. And language changes every day.

Dear fellow aspiring writers! Thank you for putting your time and effort in mastering the art of writing fiction. This is a gift to every person on this planet, even if many do not stop to think of being grateful to you. But I am.

And you, great authors – you save me from existential crises every day, by allowing me to see beyond the mundane, to dream beyond the material and to be a thousand people in a thousand ages.

photo credit: Lívia Cristina via photopin cc


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