Marilyn M. Fisher
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About Marilyn M. Fisher
"Who are you, anyway?" I don't suppose many people can really answer that question, given the many and varied masks we present to others, and of course, to ourselves. But in attempting to answer the question, perhaps I can shed some light on who I am as a writer of novels.
I've always been intrigued with human motivations, why people do the things they do. What motivates people to do bizarre and self-destructive things, like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel or wrestling alligators for fun? On the other hand, rarely, I believe, people can be saintly: soldiers save fellow warriors' lives in Afghanistan, and the men and women in Doctors Without Borders are selfless. And then there are the rest of us, people who are just trying to make it in a world that is sometimes hard and unyielding. The question of what accounts for human behavior was the reason I chose to be a literature major. I've always taught my students that there is no better place than the short story or novel to learn about the reasons people behave the way they do, their dreams and aspirations, and their successes and failures as human beings. I was taught this piece of wisdom when a young undergraduate, and I believe it today.
I have, also, a great curiosity about many different subjects, which has only grown more intense as I've grown older. Since January 1, I've wondered what the real George Washington was like behind the myth. When I found out, to my complete satisfaction, after staggering through an exhaustively researched 904 page tome by Ron Chernow, I was inspired to look into Alexander Hamilton, who had been a fighter in the Revolutionary War and an aide to General Washington. Specifically, I wondered why Hamilton went clear-eyed into a duel with Aaron Burr and cut short his life. Another 832 pages by Chernow told me about Hamilton's life, thinking patterns and beliefs in such detail that I at last discovered his motivations in agreeing to let someone have the chance to kill him. An article about Predator drones patrolling the Mexican border caught my attention, and another about Clarence Darrow added to my knowledge of famous lawyers. I love to read about law cases and watch television and see movies about lawyers. Reading up on equine infectious anemia cleared up a few questions I had about it. Another article--well, enough of that. With all this reading, goes a love of research, tied into my long grad studies. The Internet is a gift of the gods. Like all the gods' gifts, we misuse it. But for someone like me, who is driven to find out the truth about things and people, it's a blessing.
I have to admit that I'm always compelled to try to think things through to their logical end, and am almost incapable of self-deception. Added to these, when I see a wrong, I want to right it, even if my hands are tied by practical considerations.
It is plain to see why novels fit the way I think. In them, I can create characters as fully as I wish, deciding how they're going to behave and why, painting them as fully as I can. I can show readers that these people cannot easily be pigeonholed as "good" or "bad," but are sometimes a mixture of both. I can present them as realistically as possible, even though they get themselves into situations that might seem fantastic. I can show readers from many different cultures that the problems of my characters are universal. We're all stuck on this turning ball together. I can research my stories, choosing topics that fascinate me and hopefully, will fascinate the reader too. And perhaps there will be a wrong committed in my stories that my readers will learn about, and put it right when they encounter that wrong in their own lives.
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Books By Marilyn M. Fisher