Author, author

I feel something that tilts between a grin and a whee! and the impulse to bite my lip, to hold my breath, when I read new work by someone I know and love.

There is a sharp-focus moment when you see how the tiny cogs and wheels of a friend's creative practice click and gleam under a lush and knotty mantle of story. That quirky reference point, that character christened with a fine name tweezed from the world of people we know, that deep preoccupation seldom voiced -- it all leads me to a lucky double understanding of the person I care about and the person I read.

Even better is losing that awareness in an almost narcotic drift, in the moment you stop noticing things and start swaying with the story's swells and eddies, its author virtually forgotten.

That same perfect drift has caught me when the stage strips my actor friends of their identities and captures my trust, when my daughter became a role so thoroughly I forgot she was my own girl.

I know people who can dream up an idea and work for years to see it through to its material form, to become the art I see in front of me. I know a woman who can show you how to build a boat and a man who will plate elegantly the food he has found in the woods in an afternoon, men and women who can right wrongs, heal hearts and lungs, make spaces that lift my spirits, people who soothe patients in various kinds of pain. Each is an author, each act depends on a kind of narrative and is thoughtful and creative and precious. Each invites me to consider, widely, authorship and agency. What am I writing?