“My books aren’t trying to fathom the mysteries of human existence. I’m an entertainer.” – Bernard Cornwall.
When I wake up in the morning and decide to do a Writer Quote post, I usually don’t have a particular quote in mind. I go searching through various and sundry snippets from writers and writing enthusiasts until I find one that reflects either what I’ve been thinking about lately, a particular view on something, or is just plain encouraging. This morning, Bernard Cornwall, of Sharpe fame, seemed to speak louder than anyone else with this little snippet that caught me and made me feel…validated.
It’s so nice to see an author admit that sometimes…nay, more often than not…we write because we want to entertain people. At least I do, and sometimes I struggle with the fact that there’s no greater, deeper meaning imbedded into my work. Sometimes I wonder if that’s a product of my education, where you spend five years trying to dig into everything and extract as much meaning out of it as you can (and in a well-worded, well-cited research paper, no less!), or when you spend a few hours a week in a workshop, listening to other students talk about how certain pieces seemed to reflect blah-blah-blah and others were lacking in “some greater meaning.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with fathoming the mysteries of human existence, of course. Those books are usually awesome. But my books, they are not. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because, you know what? Outside of academia and a small margin of truth seekers and deep thinkers, most readers don’t read to fathom the mysteries of human existence. They read to be entertained. I say my own reading is mostly entertainment, with a splash of fathom in there every so often, and so why shouldn’t my writing reflect that? I think to think that Serpent in a Cage, for example, is extremely entertaining. You’ve got a great adventure, a big secret prophesy, and (I hope) likeable and realistic characters. The biggest message it reflects is perhaps the powerful of friendship and the fact that the biggest surprises can be hidden in the least likely places.
And that’s okay.
Because I’m an entertainer.