A Necessary Mystery

Perhaps because the nature of my work is inspirational, and because as of this writing I am far from being a household name, nearly all the responses I receive to my blogs and Write Within Yourself are positive. And, whether from someone I meet at a writer’s conference or a comment posted online, I am always glad to learn when something I’ve written has reached and been of use to someone else. Yet the more I hear from readers, the more I am reminded that my experience of writing something is always different than their experience of reading it. This seems obvious enough intellectually, yet this difference in our experiences, no matter how positive for both parties, often leaves me feeling as though somehow I have been misunderstood. If I wrote it and loved it, and they read it and loved it, how can there be any difference? Was I not clear enough?

Clarity rarely has anything to do with this difference. Two friends can sit side by side in the same theater watching the same movie and leave feeling equally delighted or moved, but both will have in fact watched slightly different movies. Both will have felt the story within themselves, both will have longed for loved ones to be reunited or feared the killer’s wrath within their own sovereign heart. Once they have taken that story’s journey from beginning to end, its unique emotional form belongs to the individual and the individual alone.

Or in other words, once I have finished a piece, what anyone else thinks of it is really none of my business. Am I tempted to believe otherwise? Most definitely. The lure of the fresh Amazon review is mighty. But my job is not to be understood; my job is to understand what I wish share and then share it as authentically as possible. What is actually understood by others after this translation remains a necessary mystery to retain the freedom that remains at the heart of love.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com

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