Written language allows us to read each others’ minds; it is the magical act of giving physical presence to ephemera. Thought, meet paper; I hope you are very happy together.
I used to tell people that writing was magic: it takes ideas and turns them into things. You can can hold that written thing in your hand and know it has an existence that you made happen. You are that idea’s deity, like the doc was to dear old Frankenstein.
Even so, I often find that I don’t know what I think until I start writing. As the words fill in, my thoughts fall into order – or they don’t. If god exists, I wonder if he started out in much the same way and was as surprised as I am about where he ended up.
To write assumes a reader
Even my little notebook, filled with daily scribblings, is a conversation with some unknown.
When writing for publication, it makes sense to know this person as intimately as possible – what is she interested in? Why does he read this? How can I make them want to buy the next thing I write? – but I wonder whether there is something lost in trade for that imaginary relationship.
Not that I am a purist; far from it. This is the first time I’ve written without a paycheck in mind. I wonder instead about what I would write if I didn’t have some unknown reader out there (or in here).