Excerpt from I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek

I recalled the afternoon when the two of us stood beating erasers, and Camille confided that she’d done penance for stories – stories that I’ll never know if she wrote or only imagined writing. She’d wanted me to tell her a secret from my dreams, a secret from my dreams I hadn’t had as yet, and so I didn’t quite understand what she was after.

“It’s about feeling,” Camille had insisted.

I didn’t understand then that she was talking about risk.

Illustration: Chalk drawing found at