Readers Smarter than I am

Readers Smarter than I am

I just had an amazing exchange with one of the readers of my novel, www.groundmannersnovel.com .  This reader delivered insights into my own writing which I probably would never have seen, and did it with such elegant simplicity–no big words, no head-scratching complexity–that I can’t help thinking that readers like this make my work look good.  At the very least, they make me seem smarter than I actually am.  As someone who spent nine and a half years studying Lit Crit, I became adept at analysing, critiquing, and presenting cogent arguments in favour of a particular view of a literary work.  Usually well-written, if a tad convoluted, my essays, and finally my Master’s thesis, made my reputation as a good writer.  Then I learned how versatile a writer I could be when I began writing for business.  Looking back, much of that was propaganda, or, at the very least, carefully orchestrated cheerleading on paper.  So you would think that when I set out to write fiction, I would have all my eggs in one basket…you know…being such an eggheady, academic type.  And there was a point during the writing of GM (as opposed to researching) when I thought I knew every metaphor, every image, every insight embedded in my text, every discourse I had inscribed between the lines.  I thought I was master of my domain. Apparently not.  The perspicacity of this reader knocked me off my self-made pedestal.  I have asked the reader if I can transcribe part of our conversation for this blog–not because I want everyone to see how clued out I was about my own work–but because our exchange was so refreshing, it’s bound to stimulate other readers to see the book in a new light–and that can only be good for them and for me.  The best part of being a life-long student of literature was, and continues to be, learning by listening to the views of others, embracing perspectives that would otherwise never penetrate one’s thick skull, that carapace which not only protects from physical injury, but also encloses the mind so that, most of the time, nothing outside (or unlike) ever gets through.  I hope my gentle reader agrees to share here on my blog. S/he reminded me of one of my own favoured sayings:  no one masters language…language masters us.  And, in my case, the act of writing showed a mastery of the writerly psyche which I never fully understood…till now.

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