I write because I want to have more than one life. -Anne Tyler
This is the joy of being a writer. You get to have more than one life. By now, I’ve had dozens, maybe even hundreds, and I wouldn’t have had this without books. But what’s great-what’s even better than reading someone else’s story, is making your own.
It begins to feel more like your life. You’re making the choices, you envision the place better than a reader would. It’s your story. And you get to keep writing these stories; you get to keep living them.
This is pretty awesome, and yet a lot of people don’t get it. It’s been said to me before, why want other lives when you could be living your own?
It’s not that I dislike my own, for I very much do like it. But I yearn for other experiences. I like adventure. Curiosity fuels my soul. While I’ve definitely had my share of experiences, I always want more.
Have you ever wanted to hike the Appalachian trail, but honestly just not enough to do it? Well, there’s a book about it. Many, actually, my personal favorite being AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. Or have you wanted wanted to ride a hoverboard but sadly the technology doesn’t exist yet? Read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Or wondered what it was like in history, for instance to be a German boy in WWII? Read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.
The possibilities are endless, but books allow us to travel in space and time to experience things we couldn’t otherwise have experienced. They allow us to have a thousand lifetimes in one life.
But as a writer, there is something different that can be gained from stories. Not only can you live the lives of others, but you can realize your dreams.
If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. -Toni Morrison
That’s what writers do. There’s a lot more to it than that ultimately, but that’s why we write.
So not only can we read about technologies other people have thought up, but we can invent new ones ourselves, however probably or improbable. You name it, a writer can write it. The possibilities are endless, to be cliche, which means that the amount of lives is endless. We can live through as many people as we want, and we can make them just to our liking (or not, that’s a possibility too, hating the people we write).
So, if you want more than one life: read; if you want to invent lives: write.