It's an odd little miracle, isn't it? Black marks on a page that mean something: a word. The word that means a thing that isn't even there. You read cat, you think cat and there's actually no cat. Not a cat for miles.
But this isn't just any cat. This is a fat, tangerine-colored tabby with white markings and inches-thick fur who moves lazily, purringly, across a white carpet in a white room with winter outside and a lit fire inside. Or, no, it's a muddled-gray stray with matted fur, stretched and draggy from too many kittens, who comes squeezing out from beneath the cement steps of an ailing clapboard, mewing hoarsely.
Or, wait: it's not a cat at all. It's a person. A real cool cat. A crooner, a suitor. Sly one. Tiger. Any old untamed thing.
You are the writer. What'll it be?
What you must remember, though, is that you're not alone in your art, your conjuring. You won't--you can't--do it alone. All you are is the black-marks-maker. You need a partner, a sense-maker, an image-picturer. You need a reader.
A reader--even just one--is no small thing. This person, your reader, is your most important person. This is the only person who can make this thing work, who can come inside, translate the markings, make this thing go.
This is why we must be kind to the reader. We must invite, charm, guide, and surprise. Tantalize. Beguile, lift, and carry. Every page, every word is a thank-you, a secret, a request. It's almost painfully intimate, what the writer feels in typing out the words, what the reader feels in reading them. A conspiracy, a willful surrender, how whole worlds are made.