Have you heard of Harlan Ellison? Go ahead and find every story and book he’s ever written. Got them? Good. Read them. They’re not all going to be the best story ever, but they’ve all got one thing in common. He writes with undeniable and unflagging passion.
He’s loved and hated equally throughout the science fiction world, and if he ever catches you calling science fiction “sci-fi” (or “skiffee”) he’s been known to blast off the deep end. Renowned for his temper, lauded for his incredible stories, he is a literary legend, and that is probably an understatement in itself.
He also is very serious about the significance and impact of writing…not just his either. I came across an interview between him and Ronald D. Moore (screenwriter for Battlestar Galactica), and a particular quote stuck out to me, where Moore is relating how Ellison actually inspired his own career integrity many years ago. Ellison was addressing an audience of aspiring screenwriters, and I do believe that what he said applies to all writers, no matter the media or genre.
“Don’t be a whore! Whatever you do in this business, don’t do it for the money. Don’t be a whore, it has to matter, have integrity, stand up for what you believe.”
I think that deserves to be one of those inspirational plaques hanging over my writing desk. Might be a bit of a long quote, but it’d be a good reminder. Of course…since when do writers do anything for the money?
The entire interview can be found here:
I see that smile.