YA/Teen writer Justine Larbalestier's blog post Very Wrong Questions (which links to her fellow writer Ally Carter's blog post The Wrong Questions...) resonates with me and reminds me of why I quietly dropped out of my local SCBWI chapter. I enjoyed hearing the guest speakers, but the questions so often depressed me. I also didn't have a finished manuscript. I still don't.
However, now I'm ready to think again about working on a longer manuscript. There's a story I want to tell. It's the kind of story I want to read. It deals with space-travel, the longing to connect with beings on other planets in the universe, and the frustration of slower-than-light travel that currently stymies humanity's thirst for exploration and discovery even more than the money involved to undertake such ventures. It's character-driven.
It's altogether possible that you will never read it. I would be thrilled if I wrote and edited a manuscript that I felt was worthy enough for you to read. If it were also worthy enough of publication, that would be wonderful, too. However, I realize that all these years, my internal pressure to have written rather than to write has sabotaged my will to create stories.
I remember a moment years ago when I rode the escalator from one level of a bookstore to another. I looked down at the shelves and tables of books, and suddenly felt melancholy. "I'm so glad I don't have a book down there," I thought. The expanses of books that might never be brought home and read made me feel overwhelmed. How odd, then, that entering a library or looking up at the night sky brings exhilaration and excitement over the possibilities of discovery.
If after we die, we get to have our questions answered, my husband and I both know what our first question will be: "Is there alien life on other planets?" We'd really like to find out the answer to that question in our lifetimes, but we will take what we can get.
Now, if there is alien life, the next question might be, "Is it friendly?" And perhaps that answer would be, "It depends. How friendly are humans, anyway?"