ADVICE TO FICTION WRITERS
for Madison Smartt Bell
If it’s not real for you, the writer, then
no readers either will themselves believe
the fiction you have flowing from your pen:
stillborn will be the stories you conceive.
No, your imagination must become
intimate with every aspect
of your invented world and even plumb
the depths of souls for readers to connect.
Said Frost, “A poem must not mean but be”;
just so for fiction, working to compel
its readers to perceive reality
where only words exist, casting their spell.
If “acting is believing,” as they say,
likewise for writing, when you’ve found your way.