Since I was a teenager I have written fiction for fun, just for myself, but never considered submitting a story for publication. I thought of my fiction writing as a form of entertainment that helped me escape the academic and more formulaic writing I had to do in college and now have to do in graduate school.
When the desire to be creative hit me I'd start a story line and work on it for a couple of weeks, leave it for several months and then maybe pick it up again. Since I only saw writing as a form of personal entertainment, it never seemed important to actually finish a story. Often the story lines just go on and on in a senseless rambling.
The first time I considered writing a story that had an actual purpose aside from personal entertainment was last winter. I was watching a documentary on deportation and the toll it takes on families. I connected to the stories of the individuals portrayed immediately because I had spent my childhood living as a refugee in Germany where the threat of being deported was always hanging over our heads. The idea for the entire story line of "Bibby Challenge" came to mind immediately. I sat down and spent an entire evening writing it without ever getting off my chair.
Initially I didn't think of sharing the story with anyone. But as the weeks passed I kept thinking about the documentary that had initially inspired me and the emotional toll I personally felt being in the situation of having to create a life in a place that I knew I would never be able to call home. It isn't just the lack of a home that is confusing in this situation, but also the complete inability to control what will happen next in your life.
I felt for the first time that I had written something worth sharing, something I wanted people to think about. In the globalized world we live in there are many discussions about immigration laws, not just in the United States but all over Western Europe. While it's easy to intellectualize the issues surrounding immigration, I wanted to share a story of one of the many ways in which these discussions impact the lives of real people and the real pain they suffer.