I’ve recently gotten into a discussion about the purpose of writing – both my own and that of better known pieces. As writers, we all know there are several types of naysayers out there. The ones who think it isn’t work, that they could easily write a book. The ones who think it’s useless, that it has no merit. The ones who just don’t see the point.
Sometimes I think they have a valid argument. Why do I write? What purpose does my writing have? What am I trying to accomplish here? It’s easy to point out some of the big names and say, “She was trying to convey a message about hope when one thinks all is lost,” or “He was trying to show us something about ourselves as a society.” But my writing? I hate to say it, but it’s just not that deep.
The discussion came up after I mentioned I started watching the show Supernatural. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s about two brothers who go all across the United States in search of demons, ghosts, and other things that go bump in the night. They’re hunters, and their job is to eradicate the country of evil.
This person just didn’t get it. “Why waste your time on a show like that? What good does it do to watch it?” Admittedly, she has a point. Most television doesn’t teach us much, if anything at all. Most of the time it just ends up putting money in the pockets of the already-rich. Most books fly by under the radar unless you’re lucky enough to make it big. And if you’re book is picked up by the masses, chances are it’s full of enough fodder to keep them entertained, but not necessarily informed of the things in life that matter. There are always exceptions, but that’s just what they are – exceptions.
I did a similar post a while ago about on why I write horror, but this is something a little different. This person is a relative, a close one at that, and absolutely means nothing against me. But how can I make her understand? How can I explain to her that silly shows like Supernatural or silly books like Harry Potter are important? That they add something meaningful to the world? That we need them?
What is their purpose?
I honestly don’t have the answer, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.