When I was about six or seven years old, I was obsessed with space. I wanted to be an astronaut and travel out of the Earth’s atmosphere to go to the Moon, to Mars, to Jupiter, or beyond. I wanted to go “out there,” where no one else had been. Because it would mean seeing wonders untold.
But for a boy born with brittle bones, the reality of traveling on a rocket would mean being crushed by G-forces my body couldn’t bear. Becoming an astronaut would never be in the cards for me.
I could never go to space. I would never see a Martian sunset or watch as Jupiter filled the sky from Titan. I would never travel to the stars.
So I read. I read books about rockets and the men who rode them to glory. I turned to science fiction and read about aliens who visited our world and ships who sang. I moved on to fantasy and read of times and worlds never-before imagined, where dragons lived in peace with man, or where magicians conjured the forces of nature. I read horror and discovered Elder Ones who turned men mad, ghosts that tortured the living, and monsters that devoured flesh.
And somewhere along the way, I decided I could tell those stories too. Not because I was a better writer than those who came before me. But because I had seen things no one else had seen.
I saw horrible monsters in the basement and heard unspeakable terrors from the attic. I listened as a devil whispered in my ear in the dead of night. I was visited by beings that watched over me as I slept, then faded into shadows when I awoke.
I watched unexplained lights in the night sky, splitting apart and flying in different directions. I viewed a total lunar eclipse, comet Hale-Bopp, the aurora borealis, and meteor showers. I caught sight of a green fireball shooting through the heavens over Lawrence, Kansas.
I followed a rotating storm cloud as it passed over my apartment building. I smelled ocean breezes from the Atlantic and the Pacific. I tasted the best bacon-wrapped shrimp, so buttery it seemed to melt in my mouth. I touched the St. Louis Arch on a hot day. I beheld the beauty of a sunrise, and heard a city come to life.
And I found true love.
I didn’t have to leave Earth to see the universe. I only had to open my eyes and see the world for its amazing beauty and the wonders it holds.
This is why I am a writer. Because I have seen wonders untold, and I need to share them with you.