• She taps them out in careful, measured sentences. Each word is just as important as the ones around it, and she feels that she must make them all…perfect.

    The words emerge first as a jumbled mess, and she must sort them out, one by one, lining them up, switching them out, so that they fit just right. So that they fit, like puzzle pieces. And then when she’s done, it works. People read her stories, and they are moved. They tell her she is amazing, that somehow, she can find words for anything, for those pains and joys that everyone knows, but so few people can adequately describe.

    They tell her she works magic, that she can describe the very essence of life.

    For the longest time, she believed them. She believed that real people could be handled as easily as the characters within her books, that every situation would have a resolution, that justice would be done.

    She thought that her words were enough.

    But no matter how hard she tried, no matter how many letters she sent, with every work meticulously hand-picked, every syllable gauged, every letter examined so that it all blended into a single, harmonious plea, he was unmoved.

    Some things, he told her, couldn’t be solved through chosen words.

    Sometimes, he told her, you had to let instinct take hold. Sometimes the best words were those that just…came.

    For a time, she tried. Unused to a world outside of words, she sought advice the only way she knew how- in other books. She tried everything; she examined comedies, tragedies, and every range of the spectrum in between. She dissected every relationship and reaction portrayed within silent pages, and then proudly let him in on her efforts.

    To this day, she can still remember the look on his face when he first saw those charts, with their connecting arrows and descriptors.

    He shook his head slowly, and then backed away.

    Life, he told her, was more than a printed page, than type on a screen. Books, stories…they only reduced what was really out there.

    You couldn’t learn how to live from reading. And nothing could teach you how to love. Love was something that…happened. It wasn’t planned; it wasn’t…calculated or formed.

    She still writes stories. Her walls and shelves are covered with awards from around the world; she keeps binders filled with newspaper clippings, reviews that portray her works in glowing terms.
    Her words, they say, are the truest they’ve ever read.

    Perhaps because they know nothing of life, or love, themselves.