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Today's post, "What We Bring to the Books We Read:  The Writer and the Reader, part III," can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the writing blog I maintain with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  This is the final installment in my three part "Writer and the Reader" series of posts.  I hope you enjoy it.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
Aha, that touches on one of your earlier posts about books being like children, and now I can put my finger on why. It has to do with the nature of art.

We use language to communicate; to pass information about the internal and the external world from one mind to another. That's the normal use.

But art is about the creation of a thing that has its own being. It may be built of words, which are busy communicating, but in actual fact, the full work stands on its own separate from the communication itself. This is easier to see in the visual arts; you would never mistake a painting for it's paints, textures, or its colors.

I find it often disappointing when an author (or any artist for that matter) tries to explain what they were attempting to do with their book/painting/oeuvre of some other format, because what the artist intended is a matter of the action of creation, not the art itself. The creation itself belongs to the reader, the audience, and what they take away from it is what matters.

Children are like that, too. You say "this is my child" because it came from your body and you fed it, and cleaned it, and taught it, and raised it. But it's not really yours. As Kahlil Gibran put it:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.
The panster way of writing makes more sense from this perspective, because sometimes the story just has to write itself, thank you very much, and your plans are just getting in the way ;)
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
What a great comment, Sizz. Yeah, this is connected to the Books as children post, though I didn't make the connection until I read your comment. Thanks! And thanks for the poem, too. Lovely.

But you really need to come over to the MagicalWords site and post comments like these there. This would be a terrific addition to our discussion at the site!
Jun. 22nd, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
If you like. But I'll be lazy and just repost, if that's OK by you.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! And I'll comment there, too. Thanks, Sizz.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
Ok, here is where I'm supposed to say that if your wrote a different genre of fiction...why don't you write more like Tom Wolfe? That might change my life! :)

Art: Have been in a lot of art museums. Most of the work barely effects me and is not all that memorable. Mona Lisa in the Louvre? What's the big whoop? :) The huge wall murals in the Nat Gallery in London? Meh. Ok, I like some of the impressionists, but the painting that I liked - and having seen it as it stuck with me - is one by Rubens...might be because of the cherub's facial expression... And reading your post made me realize that, while the painting is 'popular' enough to be hung in the Hermitage, some people might not like it at all. Cretins! :-)


And, on first read of your post, I didn't think I fit into the category of, "Well, I read that book and it changed my life" but then I think, that in some small ways, it probably has happened. Maybe not as dramatically as some of your readers, but a bit. So, thanks.

Now, can I blame ya for the path my life has taken? :) (And yep, all the good stuff was all me!)
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comments, Hedwig. Yeah, there are certain paintings that don't do anything for me at all, and then there'll be just one that blows me away, touching emotions in ways I hadn't thought possible.

As for your life path, I think I'll pass on any claim of responsibility, thanks very much. I have a teenager in the house who is already quite good at blaming me for the bad stuff and taking credit for the good....
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
I'll say to you what I said to Sizz above. Your comments are always so great -- you should make them over at Magical words and join the conversation there. Others would benefit from reading your responses! I'm grateful for the comments here. Really I am. But you'd be a real asset to the MW conversation.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the suggestion - and compliment. Will think on it. Not sure if this 'blogging thing' is going to catch on... :)

And, I understand not wanting to take credit or blame. Otherwise, everyone we impacted, in large and small ways, would want to blame us. Still, why should teenagers have all the fun? :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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