Monday, August 19, 2013

Quotes, pt. 3. Why I write

I write to document my heart. The process begins with curiosity, a tentative 'what if' connection between fact and imagination.
When I learned that people with disabilities were targeted in huge numbers during the Nazi era, I began exploring the literature. Sure enough, an entire pogrom called T4 was devoted to extermination of people in residential facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. My questions took form. 'What if a young Aryan became disabled? Would they have become a target as well?" As I moved along the research journey which dominated my free time for years, a fictional character took shape. She is Sophie Adler, a shy member of the Hitler Youth who is also a skilled photographer. Her story, Risking Exposure, will be published in September.

The story of Sophie is fiction, but the fate of thousands of others like her was not. Their tales have not been well-covered in Holocaust literature. The field is filled with horrific stories of extermination of Jewish citizens, but few titles explore the other targets of Nazi persecution - people with disabilities, people who are deaf, homosexual, Communist, Romani (Gypsy), and Jehovah's Witness. Since I have spent a lifetime working with people with disabilities, I knew my storyteller's heart would create a tale about one of them.

Other writers answer the question of 'Why I write' more succinctly than I.

Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself.... It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless.”―Harper Lee

All that writers can do is keep trying to say what is deepest in their hearts. – Lloyd Alexander

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought if he had not started to say them.
-William Stafford

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