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Why I Write

by Lois June Wickstrom

When I was about three years old I discovered two winged creatures who sometimes visited my back yard. When I told my mom about them, she freaked. She consulted child experts who told her "imaginary playmates are normal." I had no idea why she couldnít see them. And I was sure that I did not imagine them.

My family moved to a new home when I was 8. My winged playmates told me that their home was in the apple tree in my yard. They did not move with my family. The big lesson they taught me was that my reality was not the same as everybody elseís. They gave me the courage to indulge my daydreams, because they, too were things only I could see. And wonder-of-wonders I could manipulate my daydreams.

After that, I never minded being sent to my room. I only resented the spanking that sent me there. As far as I was concerned, I never deserved those spankings. I didnít break rules. I didnít sneak around. All I did was manage to upset my father by saying things he didnít want to hear. I had no idea what would upset him until he yelled, and then it was too late.

Time alone with my imagination was the best present anybody could give me Ė even if it was meant as a punishment. But because I was being punished unjustly, the theme of justice and intention appears repeatedly in my stories. And in my stories, misunderstandings are corrected, truth and justice triumph - but not until after the protagonist has been on a wild ride in which the outcome was uncertain.

The stories that pop into my brain excite me, enthrall me, tantalize me. I have an uncontrollable urge to share anything that Iím enthusiastic about. Iíve been writing my stories down since age 9. My familyís move away from my winged playmates showed me that my worlds donít last forever. I can never revisit the back yard of my childhood. But I can revisit any of my imaginary worlds if I remember to write them down.

A few years ago, I felt that the kinds of stories I love werenít being published. I began my own magazine, Pandora. The motto was "If Pandora hadnít been curious, there would be nothing to write about." Jean Lorrah sent me a story that was exactly the sort of story I love. Then she bought copies of all my back issues and sent me critiques of the stories in previous issues. I immediately asked her to be my assistant editor and then quickly promoted her to co-editor.

Since then we have actually met each other, taken trips to look for the Loch Ness Monster together, written award-winning books together, and learned to write screenplays together. We share the passion of telling the world our stories, sharing our imaginations first with each other and then with our growing audience.


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