Asa Bradley emailed today asking me and Claire Rudolf Murphy to respond to that simple question as part of the GET LIT festival here in Spokane, and I'm delighted to be included. So here goes.
I could be flipant and say the desire to stay housed and fed keeps me writing, because as a single mom, writing isn't just fun for me, it's my job. It is the work that keeps my kids Kerry and Vanessa at Eastern Washington University and Spokane Falls Community College, too. But my choice to make writing my life's work is about far more than money.
What keeps me writing is probably a burning curiosity. I was born with an unyielding need to discover the who, what, when, where, why and how of virtually any topic that crosses my field of vision -- dinosaurs, mummies, Bigfoot, albinism, any subject that makes me urgently wonder. Because I never really graduated from topics that also appeal to kids, they are the best candidates with whom I can share my enthusiasm. So I happily write for kids.
I write for the kid I once was -- the reluctant reader tomboy who never found the books she might REALLY want to read. She finds them now because she writes them. And the reactions of the kids like me constitute the second primary reason I keep writing. I do it to help the "weird" kids out there -- kids like the kid I was -- understand they are special and they are not ever truly alone.
That's what keeps me writing. Well, that and the price of electricity in Spokane. Talk about a topic that makes me curious. : )
Thanks GET LIT -- for the prompt, for letting me visit remote schools as part of the festival team, and for every other terrific opportunity you've afforded me. I'm glad to be part of the team!