Is Writing a Type of Sympathetic Magic?

Ferrel Moore blogs, “Writers are magicians. They turn nothing into something. From swirling dark archetypes of the subconscious they pull fragments and potentialities and craft them into an imaginary world peopled with characters more real than themselves. Writers are the God of their created world. From the dust of their lives, they bring forth protagonists and antagonists and breathe life into them.”

In Negotiating With the Dead, Margaret Atwood hypothesizes that “all writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and fascination with mortality – by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the dead.”

In my current mood, I don't like where all this is going... squeezing out the final few plot twists of another narrative, I wonder if writing is not an inherently foolhardy pursuit, akin to the endeavors of the more ill-fated sorcerers in the works of H.P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith. Might this recycling of scraps of memory into what feel like real characters and landscapes and worlds and conflicts not amount to what the Goddess in Margaret Atwood's poem “Sekhmet, the Lion-headed Goddess of War”euphemistically calls “wishful thinking?” Here is a stanza of Atwood channeling Sekhmet --

“I just sit where I'm put, composed
of stone and wishful thinking:
that the deity who kills for pleasure
will also heal,
that in the midst of your nightmare,
the final one, a kind lion
will come with bandages in her mouth
and the soft body of a woman,
and lick you clean of fever,
and pick your soul up gently by the nape of the neck
and caress you into darkness and paradise.”

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