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The other night, a friend and colleague, a game writer I admire and follow, considered giving up.
Like Batman turning to Robin saying, "I don't feel like fighting crime tonight."
Ouch, that's my soul you're stepping on.
I labor in obscurity, looking to the horizon as my hero lists respected video game website after respected video game website he's written for, and then says, "What's the point?"
"What's the point??"
I would kill (not actually) to have written the thoughtful pieces you've written! I'd lie, cheat, and steal (probably not) to be as well-known and highly thought of as this guy, and he considers giving up.
If he doesn't see the point, what chance do I have?
Not tonight Burt. I have a headache
Sure, the full-time staff position hasn't come yet, and God knows he deserves it, but how does Robin keep up the fight when Billionaire Bruce has thrown in the cowl?
When passion, joy, success, and hope flee, what's left? What keeps you writing? What keeps me writing?
Benjamin Parker. Or just, Uncle Ben.
There are very few permanent deaths in comics (alternate dimensions and timelines aside). Really, there's just one.
They say, "No one in comics stays dead except Uncle Ben."
The driving force to become a moral crime fighter or "super" hero for Peter Parker has, and always will, find its source in Uncle Ben. Spiderman can lose his powers, lose his nerve, or lose his girl; almost everything can be stripped from him, but his uncle's death and its meaning for Peter can never be stolen by the Green Goblin.
Spiderman is who he is because his motivation is eternal, or rather Uncle Ben's death is a constant reminder of his eternal motivation.
Help the helpless if only because you can.
My Uncle Ben came back to life and started complaining about how hard writing is, how unfair life can be, and why that dream job hadn't come yet.
That's not to say my writer friend/editor is a poor dead uncle (though he is); he, too, is human, and my reason for writing (and maybe his too) has been misplaced.
I don't write for the fame. Or money to buy hot cars. And neither does Spiderman.
We write to express important ideas. Sometimes the important idea reaches hundreds or thousands of ears or eyeballs — like stopping a runaway train. Other times, it's a single citizen waylaid by bandits.
One reader. That's why you write … even for just one.
We have an obligation to use our God/radioactive spider-given talents because, damn it, that's what they're for.
Thanks, Uncle Ben.
This article originally appeared on A Game Writer's Guide.