The Writers Behind the Curtain

What does a writer look like?

I imagine a secluded attic, a spluttering candle, papers strewn about the floor. A bearded man hunched over a typewriter, whipping out a masterpiece inspired by the moonlight streaming in through the window.

I don’t have an attic, or a typewriter, or a beard. And while I do have outlines and character sketches strewn about the floor, no masterpieces fly onto the screen on the first try, or even the third.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I am a writer, but even to me the very idea of writing seems a magical, unattainable notion. And then the Big LAAH Reading Series happened. It’s an event hosted by the A&M writing center in which two writers came to read and discuss their work.

Florence Davies and Riley Womack, two writers, stood before me, tangible, real, and attic-free. Admittedly, Riley did have a beard, but it was carefully trimmed, not the crazed result of days hunched over a typewriter with no food or drink.

Then came the thought. That could be me one day. Here was evidence that writers are real people. They are the “man behind the curtain”. But rather than disillusionment that writers are people, not mystical beings, I felt inspired. Here was proof of the work, sweat, and tears that went into each paragraph, each sentence, each word.

That work, that sweat, and those tears are exactly what make words so powerful. And it’s a relief to know that I don’t need an attic for my words to change the world.





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