Recently I went to a wonderful exhibition about magic at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Part of the exhibit was a nice little magic show. And part of that was the magician asking a member of the audience to come up and hold a fork, the same fork he had already magicked, fanning the tines just, apparently, by waving the fork. I was the audience member he selected for Fork Trick Part Two. Holding just the bottom end of the fork, he rotated the fork while I held it in my loosely clenched fist. To all appearances it went into my hand straight. It felt like a common kitchen fork. It came out of my hand neatly twisted. And I got the fork for a souvenir.
The whole affair was highly enjoyable, and interesting, and comparable to writing.
Writers don’t create worlds, we don’t birth or kill actual people. We don’t really make the sun rise and set, the wind blow, and Krakatoa blow up. We neither create nor re-create places like Monroeville, Alabama, or Timbuktu or Alpha Centauri or Hades. We conjure all of that, and infinitely more, with verbal smoke and mirrors and sleight of handy phrase, in the reader’s imagination.