I hear my name murmured from across the room, but I ignore it. My class is doing a writing workshop, and there are two drafts being read—mine, and one other. The right half of the room reads one draft; the left side reads mine.
I’m doing quite well keeping my mind on the draft in front of me, until someone begins reading my piece aloud. Her spoken words lilt over the quiet classroom, worming their way into my ears. No one else speaks. I’m supposed to be reading my classmate’s draft, and though my eyes are still tracing the words, my mind has been hijacked. It’s as if she is telling a story about me that only I could know, and she’s got every detail right, impossibly and completely right. It’s like my psyche has invaded hers.
That’s the magic of writing.
I was embarrassed of this piece when I submitted it to the workshop. I considered it barely edited, because I knew there were problems that I hadn’t fixed. But for more than one student that day, this piece—my piece—achieved the most noble thing a story can do—it transported the readers out of their own worlds and into mine. (I only know because they told me.) And that is something that only stories can do.
That’s why we write. That’s why I write, anyway. Writing takes thought, as pure as can be, and moves it from one conscious mind into another.
Always be a poet, even in prose. –Charles Baudelaire