In the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan the main character is Briony, who at age 13 is a budding author. She already thinks like a writer most of the time, seeing plots for novels and stories in the family life and nature surrounding her. The world to her is a place of inspiration for something she can later put down in writing. In a way her life is lived more on the page than in her direct contact with the surrounding world.
The whole book is circling around the theme of writing, the word as expression, or even the word as a more real reality than reality. I think this is something many bookworms can recognise, readers and writers alike - the world of fiction and literature is the preferred place to hang out. More safe and controlled perhaps, but also a place where there is room for high ideals and strong, fatelike friendships, fantastic actions and heart-wrenching sacrifices in the name of love, humanity, truth etc. Of course literature is mirroring to some extent the world the authors live in, but still - a different place to reality.
Anyway, a passage I've always loved in this novel, culminating in a single sentence, is where Briony is writing down her opening line of a story after seeing the fountain scene and understanding that she must enter a new level of writing and existing; enter the grown-up world and write about more serious layers of reality than fairytale princesses and storylines always ending in good marriages.
She sits in front of the white paper, pen in hand, and after considering everything she has seen and started to understand that day, writes "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly".
This one sentence, seemingly a leap from the context she is consumed in, to me says a lot about what writing is. From one kind of material springs a whole new material or world, somehow related to its origins, but often very different in form and content (if 'origins' is a word possible to use around the writing process). Creativity doesn't move in orderly autobahn-lines, it makes the most surprising leaps, leading us to completely new places with strange and fresh connections to the world we know and the evergrowing literary geography.
Not magic, only the endless possibilities of human imagination.