As writers, we often work in a vacuum. For hours, days, weeks, years, we labor on alone. I write in the bedroom, in the living room office, in the library, in atriums and coffee shops. Right now I’m writing in my parents’ den. Others may be near, but we don’t hear them. We are alone with our characters, our worlds, and woe to anyone who interrupts us while we are in flow!
But we don’t write for ourselves. At least, most of the writers I know do not. Sure, there are some who would be perfectly happy to write their million words, stick the manuscript (or a USB stick) in a closet and live forever after happy. But I am not that sort, and most of my writer friends aren’t either. We write to be read. We choose our words so that others besides ourselves will understand them. To successfully convey our mental image, the emotional thrust that propelled us to write the story in the first place is one of the greatest joys of a writer.
And so it was with much pleasure that I discovered this detailed analysis of my story “The Sounds of Old Earth” (published in Lightspeed). Carl V. Anderson at StainlessSteelDroppings.com says:
The primary reason this story stood out to me upon my initial reading and the reason I chose it as a story for further examination is the emphasis on connections. In Abner’s case it is family connections and connection with the place where one lives, and even with the land itself, that are examined.
He then explores the familial relationships I set up in the story, the complex and variegated social structure, and the implications of the society I built. As I described in the Author Spotlight, part of this story comes from the horror I felt at the dismantling of the old Yankee Stadium. But there was another impetus, not from any single source, and that’s the ongoing destruction of our planet. You see, we are already doing this: we are taking the Earth apart. We are destroying the one and only home we have ever had. And so the reason why I think so many people find this story affecting (it has made quite a number of people cry) is because we know that in a way, this isn’t fiction. I wrote about something that we all know to be all too real.
It hurts me to see how we neglect our ancestral birthplace, how we treat the Earth as if she were just a tool for us to use and discard. When I wrote “The Sounds of Old Earth” this feeling was strongest in my mind. It’s heartening to see others connect with the story and even more so when they identify the cause of that connection as something real and present.
It’s nice to step out of the void every now and then and see that when a writer shares his work he is never really in a vacuum.