"Okay. Let's start with a question that doesn't really have an answer... Why do we write fiction?"
One of the older students, a guy, decided he was game. "To express ourselves," he offered.
"Sure," Professor Piper said. "Is that why you write?"
The guy nodded.
"Okay... why else?"
"Because we likte the sound of our own voices," a girl said. She had hair like Wren's, but maybe even cooler. She looked like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (wearing a pair of Ray-Bans)
"Yes," Professor Piper laughed. It was a fairy laugh, Cath thought. "That's why I write, definetly. That's why I teach." They all laughed with her. "Why else?"
Why do I write? Cath tried to come up with a profound answer - knowing she wouldn't speak up, even if she did.
"To explore new worlds," someone said.
"To explore old ones," someone else said. Professor Piper was nodding.
To be somewhere else, Cath thought.
"So..." Professor Piper purred. "Maybe to make sense of ourselves?"
"To set ourselves free," a girl said.
To get free of ourselves.
"To show people what it's like inside our heads," said a boy in tight red jeans.
"Assuming they want to know," Professor Piper added. Everyone laughed.
"To make people laugh."
"To get attention."
"Because it's all we know how to do."
"Speak for yourself," the professor said. "I play the piano. But keep going - I love this. I love it."
"To stop hearing the voices in our head," said the boy in front of Cath. He had short dark hair that came to a dusky point at the back of his neck.
To stop, Cath thought.
To stop being anything or anywhere at all.
"To leave our mark," Mia Farrow said. "To create something that will outlive us."
The boy in front of Cath spoke up again: "Asexual reproduction."
Cath imagined herself at her laptop. She tried to put into words how it felt, what happened when it was good, when it was working, when the words coming out of her before she knew what they were, bubbling up from her chest, like rhyming, like rapping, like jump-roping, she thought, jumping just before the rope hits your ankles.
"To share something true," another girl said. Another pair of Ray-Bans.
Cath shooked her head.
"Why do we write fiction?" Professor Piper asked.
Cath looked down at her notebook.