The magic of writing

“Carole King called an extraordinary number of extraordinary things into being. She sat there one fine day in a world in which absolutely no one was doing the Loco-Motion —  a world in which, in fact, no one ever had done the Loco-Motion. And she declared “Everybody’s doing a brand-new dance now” and even though it wasn’t true or real when she first said it, her saying made it so. If that ain’t magic, it’s something close to it.” — Fred Clark.

That’s a pretty cool thought, and quite true. Writing changes the way we speak: nobody was called Romeo before Shakespeare, Scrooge before Dickens, Svengali before George du Maurier (in his novel Trilby). There were no robots except as a Czech word meaning worker, before Carel Kapek’s play RUR. Private detectives were not Sherlocks before Sherlock Holmes and money lenders were not Shylocks before Merchant of Venice gave us that anti-Semitic figure.

At this point, I doubt I’ll ever contribute anything quite so powerful to the written word or get anyone dancing a brand new dance (I did have someone approvingly quote a line of one of my stories once without realizing I was the author, which was cool). But I’m a line of work where it’s possible, and that’s pretty awesome.



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