You don’t know me (yet), but here are some things you need to know about me: I love creative writing, I love reading, and I rarely pick up a book for fun.
Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t read Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings after their second books. I didn’t read the Hunger Games at all. And I haven’t touched Dickens or many of the classic pieces of fiction that are so often considered exemplary in the field of creative writing. For that matter, I didn’t watch their movies, either. Yet I love reading. I love storytelling, and I actually do, professionally, a form of creative non-fiction writing.
Sure, it took a while, but I’ve become comfortable with the idea that I can be someone who enjoys and participates in creative writing work, without interfacing very often with books. But for those questioning my credibility right now, let me explain myself a little.
This is the year 2012, and we’re at a point where we have more options for experiencing creative storytelling than just hardbound and paperback. We have ways to include audio and video with writing, and even interactive elements. As a result, the most emotionally significant moments I have had with creative writing have not been read or seen, but rather played or experienced.
As a result, my bookshelf at home doesn’t look like this:
It looks like this:
Literally, that’s what my “book”shelf at home looks like. No books, just video games (I do actually have a bookshelf with actual books, but that’s not the point). But I’m not just showing off, there’s a point to this. Every single one of those plastic cases represents a story that I’ve experienced. In many cases, they are stories that I took an active role in shaping.
These are the experiences within creative writing that I have historically found most valuable. Admittedly, there are certain nuances in books that cannot be replicated in any other form of media, and the simple satisfaction of turning a page is irreplaceable for some. I understand that.
But so, too, is the feeling of agency and responsibility that comes with the experience of leading a character through his or her story personally. When the main character’s best friend betrays him, he is betraying me. When she has to make a big, life-altering decision, I have to make that decision and deal with the consequences as the game continues.
In this way, I am not simply reading or watching this story unfold. I have, in a way, become both the reader and writer of this story. I find that fascinating as both a reader and a writer myself, and whenever you see me on this blog from here on, I will be sharing some of that fascination with you.