I wrote this essay for Bylines: 2009 Writers' Desk Calendar -- The Essential Weekly Planner for Writers.
Old books remind me of why I write. I want to be immortal.
A line from Caroline Mytinger's 1942 book, Headhunting in the Solomon Islands, became my motto when I read it: "A woman's destiny ... is not fulfilled until she holds in her arms her own little book." Her incredible journey to the South Seas islands as an adventurous young woman would be a forgotten memory if not for her books. Caroline will never die because her stories live.
Through The Power of Positive Thinking, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale eased me through my teen years as I read it over and over again, lifting my spirits through the depths of my adolescent angst. He continues to save lives as his books inspire so many people today.
When A.A. Milne penned his Winnie-the-Pooh tales, he surely never imagined he'd still be delighting children long after his death. Same with Beatrix Potter.
C.S. Lewis and his friend J.R.R. Tolkien are enjoying a renaissance as some of their books have recently been made into movies.
These writers are not dead. As long as their imaginations, wisdom, and skills are a permanent fixture on this Earth -- as long as people read their books -- they are alive. They leave a legacy that will never be forgotten. It is the same destiny that I long to fulfill.
Now it's your turn: Why do you write?