Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Why We Write

Written By: Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Jan• 26•11

Tracy Hickman told this moving story earlier in the month at the Superstars Writing Seminar. My buddy and the sponsor of the seminar, Kevin J. Anderson, e-mailed me and said I had to listen to this. I was at Chattacon and didn’t have time, so I finally listened this morning, and was moved beyond words. If you write, if you want to write, if you publish books, or sell books as a bookseller, you must listen to this true story. Click here and scroll down to “Tracy Hickman Story.”

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13 Comments

  1. Sandra Hofsommer says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing Hickman’s comments, Kris.

  2. John Walters says:

    Kris,
    This story blew me away. It’s beautiful. I almost didn’t bother because I had to hunt for headphones and so on, but I’m glad I did. It moved me in two ways.

    First of all, it reminded me to not just spin out words but to always put value in what I write – that is, to always write as if it will be the last thing I will ever be able to compose, and to pour everything into it. Not only because it could be the last, you never know, but because if we pour out everything the fountain will replenish itself, but if we hold back we are cowards and not doing what we are meant to do.

    Secondly, while Hickman was telling this story I kept thinking of my second son, who has been in Afghanistan, and very much in harm’s way. He is a Navy medic and was attached to a Marine Corps unit in Helmand Valley, which at that time was a dangerous place to be. He and his unit slept on the floor of a small shot-out abandoned schoolhouse and went on daily patrols into the countryside. My wife and I never had complete peace until he was out of there. Those guys had no TV, no Internet, no phones – but they did have books. Sure makes me want to write the best I can.

    Thanks again, Kris, for sharing the story.

  3. L. M. May says:

    Hickman’s story made me weep. Thanks so much for the link. Now I’m going to dry my keyboard off with some tissues…

  4. Sharon says:

    Thank you, Kris. That was beautiful.

  5. Wow! Powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Tracy told this story to us when he was GOH at the Life, The Universe & Everything conference at BYU in 2009. Needless to say, he had the room eating out of his hand during the telling, and in complete tears by the end. I was so very happy when he told it again at the Seminar. It really added a necessary human dimension to our three days of business talk. Heck, if you can get Eric Flint to go misty-eyed, you know you’re hitting the right chords! Everybody was floored. And as an Army guy, I had to go up and thank him — again — for sharing the tale. A necessary story. Very necessary.

  7. Wow, what an awesome story. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Writers are in the “entertainment” business, but it is nice to have it pointed out that it doesn’t (and maybe shouldn’t always) be just entertainment.

  8. Dayle says:

    I admit it: I’m supposed to be writing and i used this to delay working…but now it’s something that’s going to get me working when I’m delaying.

    Once I stop crying, that is.

    Thanks, Kris, for sharing this.

  9. fran burke says:

    What a reminder of the power we hold, mostly never realizing it.
    Years ago I published a paranormal love story about love overcoming time and death. A reader wrote to me that her husband had recently suicided, but that she now believed, through reading my novel, that she would meet him again in another time. Heavy stuff. But when I thought about it, I had been writing about something I truly believed, and it had come through in the writing. I wish I could think that it happened with every book.
    Thank you for the reminder that it can happen.

    • Kris says:

      You’re welcome, Fran. Thanks for sharing the story. As writers, we never know who we touch or how. As readers, however, we do know how important books are. Thanks for the timely reminder.