Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Why do you write fiction?"

"Why do you write fiction?" It's a question I am often asked by college students, media-related executives and friends of friends and readers during my everyday travels in Boston.

I usually answer, "Why not? It's a part of whom I am."

But my reasons are more layered than that simple response.

I write about things that I recognize in my life but hadn't read in my favorite novels.

I write the stories that I had wanted to read in high school, college, post-college, even in my 30s but had troubling finding at book stores. (I still do at least in English.)

I write because I didn't know that people like me (gay Latino authors in the US) had existed in the literary world until I began sharing my own creative writing with others. I write to continue to contribute to our small but growing numbers.

I write to provide a more flattering literary mirror for guys like me and my friends - Hispanic, Italian, all-American, kind-of-youngish, professional - looking for our place in this chaotic and ever-changing world as we call each other or meet up each week to talk about our personal and professional successes and struggles.

I write to present a fuller image of what it's like to be gay and Latino today so that people can see that the tired and obvious stereotypes (which I won't state here) that we see on television and in films are far from the truth.

I write to entertain and hopefully make people temporarily forget about their daily problems.

I write fiction because I secretly can't wait to see one of my books on an i-Pad or other digital reader.

I write fiction because I love staring out at the audience during a book reading and catching my parents looking at me with pride as I discuss one of my novels (even though they probably don't understand what I'm saying in English.)

I write to establish an intimate and universal connection with fellow readers who sometimes write to me to share their own stories after reading one of my books.

I write to let loose from the constraints of formal daily journalism. (I can't say Oye, Booyah and Cono in my news articles. I've tried. Ok, that last line is a joke, people.)

I write fiction so I can get away with writing cheezy sentences like the one above.

I write fiction because it's fun to role-play on paper and temporarily adapt another personality to present another perspective and experience.

I write fiction because I cannot not write fiction.


  1. I love this post. You speak from the heart. That's what makes your writing so memorable.

  2. I love this! Viva la ficcion! I write fiction because I like Terrenceland much better. LOL.

  3. Hey Johnny,

    I, too, love this post! and I'm so proud of you (no, I know I'm not your mom!!) for coming right out and saying it like it is. I find that I write for many of the same reasons you state. I also keep a blog because I want to encourage other writers, like me, who are just barely getting started in this vast and exhilarating but often terrifying journey into the life of a public writer (because we all write privately at first, don't we?). Anyway, thanks for doing the same through your blog and for your words of inspiration!

  4. thank you Monica, Nilki and Terrence! Your words inspire me :)