"Above all, writing fiction involves a desire to enter the mystery of things: that human craving to know what cannot be known. In the ordinary world, for instance, we have no direct access to the thoughts of other human beings--we cannot 'hear' those thoughts--yet even in the most 'realistic' piece of fiction we listen as if through a stethoscope to the innermost musings of Anna Karenina and Lord Jim and Huck Finn. We know, in these stories, what cannot be known. It's a trick, of course. (And the tricks in these stories have been elevated into art.) In the ordinary sense, there is no Huck Finn, and yet in the extraordinary sense, which is the sense of magic, there most certainly is a Huck Finn and always will be. ... Beyond anything, I think, a writer is someone entranced by the power of language to create a magic show of the imagination, to make the dead sit up and talk, to shine light into the darkness of the great human mysteries."
from "The Magic Show" by Tim O'Brien