"To entertain is sacred," my friend said to me over a couple of pints at a local bar. I chuckled and leaned back in my chair, thinking the premise a bit overstated, though I agreed with the sentiment. We had been discussing the creation process and motivation to put ink to page.
Part of the reason I write is to give a little something back for all of the hours I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a movie, game, or book. My primary aim is to entertain. I think there is a natural defensiveness that genre writers feel, a need to defend the idea that pure entertainment without the benefit of a strong social message is somehow lacking in literary value.
Granted, I may weave into the story a backdrop of gender/race/etc equality, but that's often times my own distaste with our present world, and not my explicit attempt to sway others into my branch of thought.
In a world (hard not to hear Don LaFontaine's voice) that's eager to serve up countless examples of hatred and disaster, I take refuge in entertainment. It helps me recharge and fortify against reality. And if I can help create that for a few other souls, awesome.
It reminds me of Emily Dickinson's beautiful poem, "Not in Vain"
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
I've had more time to marinate on my friend's idea, and I think he was right after all.