Why I Write: Building a Fortress of Solitude

I have been capturing my thoughts for quite a few months now, and it has struck me that I should articulate why I write.  

Before we get to the answer, let’s chat about one of my favorite movies.

My Favorite Movie as a Kid

As a kid, my favorite movie was the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve.  That movie impacted me more than any other movie.  Looking back, sure, the movie has a few flaws, but I still think the first two-thirds of the movie is flawless.

In the beginning of the movie, Superman’s father, Jor-El, determines that his home planet of Krypton is about to explode.  Instead of leaving the planet, Jor-El commits to stay on the planet with his wife for political reasons.  However, Jor-El builds an interplanetary spaceship that will transport his son, Kal-el (a.k.a. Superman) to another planet – Earth.

But what is the beginning of the movie actually about?  Yes, it is an origin story for a beloved superhero.  The story is also describing a father dealing with the harsh reality that he is never going to see his son again.  And he knows (though no one believes him) that his son is going to be the only surviving member of his race, his species, and ultimately his entire planet.  Jor-El has limited time, so what does he do?  He cannot have a conversation with his son, who is only a baby.  He will never see what his son looks like as a young man.  He will never get to be a father.

Jor-El’s solution is to leave a record of all of his memories, advice, wisdom, and knowledge that his son could access.  Jor-El built into the space vehicle a way that his son could access all of the knowledge that Jor-El could pass on.  While it could never substitute for being present and actually being a father to his son, Jor-El gave his son as much as he could have given at that time.  Jor-El allowed his son to benefit from his life, his experiences, his knowledge, his failures, his successes, and his dreams.

Even though Jor-El left his own memories and thoughts, Superman (now known as Clark Kent) does not immediately have access to his father’s advice and information.  Clark is raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent on Earth.  At one point in the movie, Clark witnesses Jonathan die from a heart attack.  This event starts Clark’s journey to discover his biological father.  Clark finds a crystal in the old, preserved spaceship, and eventually discovers a way to create the mechanism where Jor-El’s information can be accessed.  

This mechanism, or place, is referred to as the “Fortress of Solitude.”  The Fortress of Solitude gives Clark the ability to access his father’s consciousness.  Jor-El teaches Clark about the history of his people, about life, and about humanity as well.  Jor-El gives Clark a purpose for his life and explains why he has incredible powers when compared to humans.  Clark learns his birth name: Kal-Ell, son of Jor-El.  

One Reason Why I Write

So why am I writing about all of this?  Why does it matter?

Once I had my first child, I started to realize that there is a possibility that I might be able be share all of my experiences with my children.  Additionally, my wife recently gave birth to our fourth child.  I have been reflecting on my life and lives of my children even more, and I now realize how true that statement is.  No one is guaranteed any moment.  Right now may be all there is.  But we are not helpless.

Jor-El’s solution is not possible, but I can build my own “vessel” for my children to share my thoughts, experiences, successes (some), failures (plenty), and wisdom.  And if someone other my children can benefit, then I would be delighted.


But ultimately, the urgency underneath anything I write comes from the same urgency of Jor-El – not knowing if I will ever get the chance to share certain things.  Thus, my solution is the same as Jor-El’s: capture my thoughts and save them so that my kids can read them someday and, hopefully, apply the lessons to their own lives.

Now I know I will not solve every problem that they face.  For example, in the movie, Kal-Ell (now Clark Kent) witnesses his adopted father have a heart attack and die.  He is challenged because he has started to realize that he has immense powers, such as speed, strength, and X-ray vision.  But no power that he had was great enough stop a heart attack.  Even though he was given great gifts, Clark had to confront the fact that there were some things that were impossible, even for him.

The death of Clark’s adopted father leads him to seek answers, and Clark eventually finds his true father’s archive.

I know that I will not solve every problem for my children.  But I also know that having some answers will be better than having no answers.

Every time I hear the click of the keys compressing on this keyboard, I think of what I leave for my children, like Jor-El.  How can I make a single moment last forever?  How can I stretch out the value of what I learn on a daily basis and push the wisdom and insight into the future.  How can I affect something that I cannot touch right now?  Every keystroke attempts to answer those questions.  

And so here we are.  Me, a keyboard, and you, whoever you are, reading this.  Thank you for getting this far.  But now, as I write, I expect my children will not be the only ones to gain insight.  There is a larger audience at stake.  And we will share our wisdom together.  So please join me in capturing our successes, failures, knowledge, wisdom, and experiences.

Our moments are numbered.  Our time is limited.

Right now counts forever.

This is why I write.  


Are you interested in change and reinvention?  If yes, get my free book on the three types of reinvention (also titled, “Congratulations, You Lost Your Job!”) here.


  • Kenneth Evans

    The reason why I write was very insightful. This blog places many areas of my life in proper perspective.

    Thank you John

    • John Mashni

      Thank you Kenneth! I really appreciate the feedback. It really does fuel me. I know this resonates with you so let’s build together!

  • Charlie Green

    John, the old guy that I am did not experience what you are thinking when I had my children. But your thoughts do mirror mine since becoming a grandparent two years ago. I beleive there is no new wisdom, only newly discovered or remembered. Yes lets make that eaiser for our kids and grandkids!

    • John Mashni

      I love it! You only get so many moments to leave an impact. I am committed and I know you are too. 🙂