At lunch on Saturday, I was enjoying my super tasty empanada (thank the gods that Missoula is attempting to get in more culturally diverse foods--this land of burgers and fries is killing me), and we got to talking about what goals we set out for ourselves for our books. Thanks to the amazing Kris Dinnison for bringing it up, as it got me thinking long after our conversation ended. Anyhow, the gist of it all was about whether or not we were setting out to get some kind of deeper meaning across with our writing, or just to have some fun. This is obviously a spectrum from one to the other, and I was sitting there thinking that I absolutely fall onto the fun-book end of the spectrum. While I enjoy reading a book with a whole lot of deep meaning and powerful story, when I pick up a novel, you can be sure it's for some kind of pleasurable escape.
Why? Because I read deep books about difficult topics all day. Every day. And then I teach college students about deep topics. Like, why race isn't biologically a reality yet the #BlackLivesMatter movement is vitally important (don't believe me? message me and we'll talk). Helllllooooo deep topics. So when I get time to read a novel, you'd better believe that I want something that's going to help me relax and enjoy someone else's reality for a while. And the more magic and non-real-world-ness going on is going to totally make me even happier.
So, I could be attempting to get deeper thoughts and topics across in my writing. For sure. And I know they creep in, because how could they not? I spend at least 10 hours a day at work thinking about these things, so of course they are going to spill into my writing. But do I want to be consciously thinking about my deeper thematic elements while I'm telling a story I find interesting? Not so much. I'm looking to entertain myself and the reader. To tell them a tale.
To be totally honest, this makes me feel like less of an author. More of some hack. But oh well. That's the truth of the matter. And while I did feel a little odd explaining this to the other authors there, who all were in the deep-theme end of the spectrum, well, I just had to shrug. I write because I enjoy it. I like telling myself fun stories and working to make them as cool as I can. And I especially like to get other people to enjoy my stories and escape from this world as much as possible. Because, well, we all need that from time to time.