May 26, 2015
Dear You- Yes YOU!
Writers walk a fine line. No matter what our letters are about, our work is often laced with universal truths. We long to touch our readers’ hearts and minds with our words. We want them to read our work and have their imaginations run away with them. More importantly, at least for me, I want them to feel my words. I want the truths and the themes to reach out and squeeze their hearts so when they are finished with the piece, it becomes a part of them. The reader might put the letter down, but the words and message are entrenched. It may be arrogance, but why else write if we don’t want our words to impact the reader?
As readers, we walk a fine line. We pick up books, essays, anthologies, hoping to be swept away. We want to fall in love with the main character or the author’s message. We want to ride their emotional roller coaster. We want to be impacted by the words on the page. Why else do we read? Some might say we read for knowledge, and I would agree. Even when we’re reading fiction, we learn; about life, ourselves, each other. As a reader, I have a choice to accept or reject the words and the content of what I read, but as a reader, I read because I WANT this experience. I’m dissatisfied when I don’t get it.
The fine line becomes an issue when we, the writer, have done our jobs so well, the reader, often our intimate friends and loved ones, think we are writing about them. How do we tell them no, it isn’t about you. It’s about everyone. Most people, at one point or another feel this way, have thought that thought, or had that conversation that we’ve written about. People feel lonely, betrayed, bewildered, confused, hopeless, overwhelmed, happy, joyful, lustful, and the list goes on. This, these feelings, responding to these words, THIS is what it means to be human. Eliciting these feelings within you, THIS is what it means to be a writer.
Thank you for being affected by our words. Thank you for feeling them deep within your gut. Thank you for fighting against them, or drinking them in, or wrapping yourself in them and cherishing every one of them. Thank you for letting us know they hurt, they enthralled, they captured you. Thank you for letting our words cross that fine line. They weren’t about you, nor ARE they about you. They are about everyone. They are about being human.
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