The Burden Shifts

I will know I’m a writer when the burden shifts from my having to make adjustments in my writing in order to accommodate the reader, to the reader who will be tasked with understanding what I have written.

            Not that I don’t like to clarify and re-articulate and generally “edit.” I love it, in fact! Nevertheless I dream of being the author of the kinds of books we were assigned in my English courses, whose reading benefited so much from the teacher’s pointing out subtleties that had gone right over our student heads. I guess what this would mean to me is that people care about what I am saying to such an extent that such lengths would be taken to examine it.

            But I’m not there yet. At least not so far as I know. Thus, I “test marketed” on various people a fictional manuscript I wrote and asked them if they understood the title or to explain what it meant. Only one of them “got it.” So this puts the burden on me to rewrite the text so that the reader will be more likely to understand what the whole book is really intended by me to be about. As I say, I don’t mind doing this at all. I enjoy it. But if I were Hemingway or Ellison or Bulgakov or Wharton, I wouldn’t have to do it. :-)


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