Dear readers in search of answers in search of questions,

Given all the talk lately concerning whether writing about a behavior encourages young adults to engage in that behavior (although I have yet to see anyone argue that a recent best selling picture book dangerously encourages impressionable parents to swear at their children at bedtime), it’s good to remember why we write what we do, as Melissa pointed out in her comment to Marsha’s post. E.B.W.’s question seems particularly relevant.

Dear Inkpot,

Why can I not stop thinking about spiders?


Dear E.B.W.

If you are obsessed with spiders, perhaps it’s a good idea to write about them. I realize spiders are low on what one editor has called the “cuddle factor, ” but anything we are haunted by (as Jane Resh Thomas would say) is probably something we should be writing about.

You may hear that stories about spiders aren’t selling or that no one wants to read about spiders or that writing about, say, literate spiders will encourage children to try to teach spiders to read and write, leading to spider bites from recalcitrant eight-legged students.

But we write what is in our hearts to write, the stories that only we can tell. Fiction, non-fiction, horror, fantasy – the arachnid possibilities are endless. Don’t let anyone talk you out of writing what you want to write.

Good luck, E.B. I’ll be watching for your spidery magnum opus.