Counterfactual

In an interview by Margaret Ross for the Art of Nonfiction series published in the Summer 2024 issue of the Paris Review, author and Harvard University professor Elaine Scarry says, “I see my writing on imagination and on war as continuous. Or rather, the two subjects are essentially locked in combat, because the act of inflicting injury or pain is really a willful aping of imagination, turning it upside down and appropriating it.” Write a lyric essay that braids together two subjects: Use the imagination or the artistic process as one topic, and then choose another subject that may seem “locked in combat” with your ideas around creativity, perhaps one more adjacent to pain or distress. What kind of truth can be coaxed to the surface when you think about the connections between them?