Other boys must have felt the same intimations. Maybe that was why so many of them wanted to become writers. Maybe it seemed to them, as it did to me, that to be a writer was to escape the problems of blood and class. Writers formed a society of their own outside the common hierarchy. This gave them a power not conferred by privilege — the power to create images of the system they stood apart from, and thereby to judge it.
I hadn’t heard anyone speak of a writer as having power . . . Truth, yes. Wit, understanding, even courage — but never power. We had talked in class about Pasternak and his troubles, and the long history of Russian writers being imprisoned and killed for not writing as the party wished. Augustus Caesar had sent our Latin master’s beloved Ovid into exile . . . Yet the effect of all these stories was to make me feel not Caesar’s power, but his fear of Ovid. And why would Caesar fear Ovid, except for knowing that neither his divinity nor all his legions could protect him from a good line of poetry.
~ OLD SCHOOL by Tobias Wolff
From the bays of Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl.