Creator and creations

It's one of those family stories.
My father, with two girls but no boys, being kidded by his brother-in-law, with four sons (and a daughter) in his family.
He answered, I'm told, that "it takes more skill to create what you don't know than to duplicate yourself."
That remark has stayed with me as a writer, because as parents to our fictional children, we both replicate our own experiences and pull in threads of all we have seen, known, encountered, read, remembered, overheard, and imagined. I've worked all along the spectrum, from newspaper reporter to writer of fantasy, and know how tough it is to thread the needle of plausibility, whether in trying to faithfully recreate the scene at a fatal traffic accident, or imagine the lives of people in the worlds of never-has-been.
In an argument about the nature of the novel today, David Shields writes, “There is the commonsensical assertion that while the novelist is engaged on a work of the creative imagination, the duty of the journalist is to tell what really happened, as it happened. That distinction is easy to voice but hard to sustain in logic. For imagination and memory are Siamese twins, and you cannot cut them so cleanly apart. There’s a good case for arguing that any narrative account is a work of fiction. The moment you start to arrange the world in words, you alter its nature. The words themselves begin to suggest patterns and connections… Then the story takes hold.” (I come to this through an article by Martha Cooley.)
"The story takes hold" - that's the moment of generation, the quickening in the mind, as the people of our minds take independent shape and breathe into life.

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