Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Other Words...


Be sure that you go to the author to get his meaning, not to find yours. -- John Rushkin
Most of the time, I agree with this quote. To honor the hard work of the author, we must look for his meaning and gain what we can from it. But, I think it's also productive to find your own meaning in all forms of art -- writing, art, music... After all, we internalize what we read, hear and see and adapt our lives accordingly.

Occasionally, I'd like to add a section to the back of books... let's call it In Other Words... where the author spells out his meaning just in case I'm a bit too obtuse to get it in his artistic words. Many times readers get so much more from a writing if they have a little insight into the background of the author or the origin of the story or article.

Think about adding In Other Words to your next book.

19 comments:

Cozy in Texas said...

I stopped by your blog today. Beautiful quotes along with equally beautiful pictures.
Ann

Lou Belcher said...

Ann... thanks so much for your comments.

Lou

Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, a good idea. I'm always trying to cover my back when writing historical fiction for children and I add historical notes. Ok, it's for children but I dread some grown-up tackling me. I asked the head of a department at the London Museum to edit my last book, so I came hopefully blame any mistakes on him.I did include glass marbles in the story and thankfully he pointed out that in 1780 they would have been made from clay!!! :0)

Lou Belcher said...

Carole Anne.... yes, lots to think about... all the details can drive you nuts.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I love when novels have a section at the back with non-fiction information about the story - as in historical fiction (as Carole mentioned), or an outback Australian novel I read recently had a dictionary of the slang words used.

I'm happy for readers to find their own meaning in any story I produce - I think they'd come up with better ones than me! :-)

hearwritenow said...

Readers will always read their own meaning into a story. It's part of what makes us human; subjective empathy. I feel you, but only as far as I can feel me. The most popular works are those that speak to the most accessible experiences, emotions, and meanings. The most skilled writers/artists are able to use that understanding to point their readers to an alternative perspective. And that's when people walk away saying "Wow. I never thought of it that way before."

But I do like your idea of explaining your intentions after readers have finished reading and made up their own minds. It would help the writer to loosen her hold knowing that she has an opportunity to explain all later.

Elle
HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

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