Reality is a subjective thing, especially to us writers.
We see things multiple ways. We sit on an old stone bridge and look down at a length of pipe sunken to the bottom of an icy stream, and in a blink we see a sword, golden and forgotten, lost, waiting for a hero to come and take up the fight again.
We see her, the hero, bending down and at the edge of the stream in our mind. She is wearing jeans and a blue shirt; her dog got lost in the woods and she’s been searching for him, calling out his name. And then, she finds herself called to the sword, her birthright. Her cheeks are rosy from running. She reaches a hand into the stream and hisses through her teeth – the water is cold from spring runoff, the snow melting into perfectly clear water – and her fingers close slowly around the freezing metal hilt. Then, in wonder and fear, she pulls the blade free from the mosses and reeds out into the sunlight.
We see the story, there, waiting in the middle of the “real world,” hanging ripe like fruit from the tree of imagination. We rush home, we must write her; we must find out what happens next. What does she do with the sword? Where does it take her? We’re swooning with possibility as we rush to get the images down, the character. We want to know who she is, what she likes, how old she is.
We fall in love with her, her flaws and her talents. We find out who she has a crush on, and who she is dating. We follow her around her life and see her go to her job at the frozen yogurt shop where she gets in trouble for giving out too many sprinkles on the samples. She is distracted by images of a golden sword she has hidden in her laundry pile at her apartment, and it is hard to concentrate. Her boyfriend stops in to say hello and get a free cup of vanilla yogurt, and he can tell her mind is elsewhere. He leaves, jealous and upset. This will come back to haunt her later. But by then, a dangerous and handsome stranger will have come to town, looking for the girl who has heeded the call.
Like a polaroid, it develops. And like magicians, we turn the images into words, alchemists of language.
It is our jobs to see the world two, three, one hundred ways at once. We are the translators of possibility, telling the stories that open the hearts of our readers, fold open the curtain and give them the hope that there is so much more than what is in front of us. We open them, we open ourselves. We make reality greater than the sum of its parts.
And as we follow our stories, we write ourselves real. We forget to be us, and we become gods, for just five minutes or five hours each week or day or month when we find a corner of time to sit down and tell the story. We write to make what is within us known to the world. We have something to share.
And we must be bold enough to tell the world however we see it, shining and glittering or dripping with vampire venom. We see the world as what it could be, should be.
And we make the world magnificent with our dreams.