You know about singing in the shower? Writing for yourself is kind of like that. You may not do more than whisper Mary Had A Little Lamb when you’re singing in public, but you’re ready to belt out arias once the hot water arrives. Off key and words jumbled–it doesn’t matter because you’re doing it for your own pleasure.
Which is kind of where this story comes from. When I say I like to write for myself sometimes, I really mean it. Most of that play (not work) stays hidden. This one didn’t because it was so much fun to read aloud (which I did, to anyone who would listen). When a bit of writing enjoys its life that much, it seems a pity to force it to stay home.
That’s one version of TAaNBatE’s (even the acronym is long) origin. Another is that I love movies almost as much as I love books. I really do, even the bad ones. But in the past year, I’ve been viewing many of them through the eyes of my daughter, who wants to see women and girls not just in the action, but leading it. Women who can not only change a flat, but rebuild an engine with their own tool kit.
The truth is that most of the movies she sees don’t live up to her imagination. Maybe none. The dissonance between what she believes herself capable of and what pop culture insists is her role is painful to me.
So, the fuller answer to where this particular story came from is that after a steady diet of superhero movies this spring, after regular conversations with the kids about what trends we saw repeated in them, on an afternoon when I was bored and itchy to write, I wrote. I wrote it for myself, and for my daughter. There was pleasure in the structure, frustration in the words.
If you’re not subscribed to Daily Science Fiction (quick, easy, free, comes right to your inbox every weekday…why not sign up?), you can find TAaNBatE on their front page this weekend. After that, I’ll add a direct link on my Short Fiction page.