The Next Coolest Thing

Originally Posted: August 2, 2010

If the most delicious thing for a writer is immersion–complete and total absorption in an imaginary world of one’s own making–then the next coolest thing is undoubtedly having your work find its readers.

I’m not talking here about just being read.  We writers all want to be read, yes, even gobbled up and passed around, and we are unabashedly greedy for an audience, without which the circle of the story just isn’t complete.

I mean think about it: we are read to as children.  We hear stories around the campfire.  We get on the phone, we tweet, we FB, eager to share our ‘stories’ – the woes and exaltations of our days – to our group of friends and followers.  It just wouldn’t be the same if no one was listening!  We need our stories, and storytelling is an inherently social art form, even though writers spend inordinate, unnatural amounts of time sitting in isolation before a computer!

Without readers, we are not authors, but journalers.  Still, that second coolest thing in all the world I’m getting at is not about being read, or even published; it’s about being ‘gotten.’

To have a particular reader pick up your book at a particular time and place in her life… so that all the pieces click into place.   To strike the right set of chords so that everything you intended in the piece–all the little subplots and undercurrents, all the setting details and motifs, all the symbolism and causality–all this suddenly strikes and resonates in another human being, who looks up and says, “Ah.”  That moment of complete comprehension is the writer’s nirvana, and it happens only rarely.  It happened for me today.

If you have a moment, check out Caroline Leavitt’s brilliant review in the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2010/08/02/outside_the_ordinary_world_revisits_the_sins_of_the_mother/

Back to work now…

Posted by: Dori

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