I want to write books that are like tiny homes, tiny, magical worlds you can tuck yourself into like a warm bed during the colder months, and feel deliciously happy, safe, comfortable and delighted while inside of them. The true value of books lies not in their ability to astound, delight and amuse, though they certainly do all those things, and in abundance, but to comfort.
You see, life, and the world, after you reach a certain age, suddenly turns from something fun and exciting, into something scary, and, when it isn’t scary, boring. Lots of us get jobs that we dislike, just to survive and pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. We have to get along and deal with people we do not like, for the sake of our jobs, at the grocery store, at the bank. We become aware of our mortality, the end that awaits us all, and our loneliness. We realise that our loneliness cannot be healed by anything outside of ourselves, that we are, as a species, lost and wandering, on a tiny, little rock, spinning around a great ball of fire, in deep, dark and fathomless space. We try to find love, have children, to soothe our souls and our hearts, only to find that anything, once you attain it, becomes mundane and ordinary, dissatisfying. And so we live our lives, in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction, uncomfortable and secretly yearning for something we cannot even put into words, yet know we want very badly.
And it’s not nice. The world is often not a nice place, and people are often not nice, because they’re unhappy with their own lives, and live in a society that seems almost specifically engineered to breed anxiety and discontent. No-one is actually a grown-up, you know. Beneath the professionalism, the smiles, the suits and the clothes, the faux wisdom, each and everyone of us, from the President to the elderly man on the street, is, at their heart, a child, pretending to be brave in a big, bad, scary and seemingly meaningless world.
That’s where art comes in. Art is what makes life worth living, because it helps us, briefly, to forget the horrible realities of living, of death and work and boredom, fatigue and pain, suffering. For as long as we are immersed in a book or a film, our souls are uplifted to a higher plane, where everything is beautiful, romantic, wondrous. Our lives, so ordinary, are lit up by these brief forays into other peoples’ lives, other worlds. Like children tucked into bed and told a bedtime story—and it is indeed children that we all are—we are soothed and comforted by these stories, tales of grand adventures and wonderful places, filled with interesting creatures and even more interesting people. Most of us will live quite ordinary lives, and if it were not for the power of the human imagination, reality would be quite intolerable.
That, then, is the reason for my existence, pure and simple: to eject, during my life, my bit of magic into the world, for others to enjoy and be comforted and soothed by, as so many books have soothed me. I live for books, and films, especially whimsical, animated ones. I live for the imagination, for words and stories, and characters. Should books, for some reason, be banned, and writing, too, I would honestly have very little reason for living, and would probably spend the rest of my life tucked inside my imagination, lying in bed and floating away on other worlds, like a drug addict. You see, for me, there is no greater pleasure on earth than the pleasure of reading, and dipping into imaginative and fanciful worlds.
Every little nifty bit of creativity that twirls and flits my way is a source of intense happiness, each one like biting into a tiny but extraordinarily sweet berry, the sweetness exploding across one’s tongue in a small spray of pure happiness. I live for it. My fondest memories, I know, from birth to death, will be that of sitting down somewhere and tucked inside the world within a book. As a child, books were my entire world; and as an adult, they still are, and always will be.
There is such magic and joy to be found in this world, but only if we humans choose to create it, and believe in it. And I intend to spend the rest of my life doing just that.