If you have written a book, or a story, or a poem, and you liked it, then by all means find some way to share with other people. Find a blog, or a magazine, or a publisher, and get it out there. Add your new crayon to the vast crayon box of stories and poems and books. There can never possibly be enough, because everyone keeps coloring and coloring and coloring their world. But if you do share what you’ve written, remember that in truth no one actually reads the book, or the essay, or the story you wrote. No one can. Those books, essays, and stories are not on the page but in your mind. The story you wrote remains a mixture of what you put on the page and what you left behind, and what you found, not just in the story, but in yourself as you found the story. What you really found belongs to you and you and alone, and is the true reason you wrote the story in the first place.
The reader will read a different story. That one will belong to them. The reader will fill all the empty spaces you left between words and images and scenes in ways you could never imagine. The reader will focus on certain details and completely ignore others. The reader will draw their own conclusions, with which you might or might not agree. It doesn’t matter if you agree – it’s not your story anymore.
Some confusion occasionally occurs when reader and writer meet. The reader is naturally deferential, wishing to assign ownership to the writer, and the writer feels an understandable proprietorship. Yet this is a moment when the full generosity of creativity is called for. Everyone’s world must be colored as the pages of their life keep turning, each page calling for more color. If some reader tries to hand you your story in praise, or even criticism, give it back. Perhaps then they might find a way to share what they found with others, learning that no one can give or take from you what you already have.
"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com