Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mirrors Within Mirrors

Why is the personality of a writer important? What can we hope to add to the experience of reading a book by knowing private details of the life of the individual who crafted it? By explaining the genesis of why they chose to elaborate one unique narrative into the complexity of a novel, can we expect to pick up moral cues that will assist in enriching a reading experience? Is the author truly the best person to amplify their own themes & sub-text anyway?

It might prove serviceable to assume that the serious writer is in possession of a depth of intent to communicate & also has cultivated the powers of observation & expression in order to make this ambition manifest. While conversation is liable to spontaneous whimsy & the foibles of a defensive ego, the written word is carefully etched, then refined to ensure that the desired intent is achieved. The writer’s message can be contained & monitored when assembled through the tools available to the craft of writing & hours — days; years dedicated to the perfecting of this vehicle for self- expression are mandatory.

The written word is fortified by a permanence which oratory cannot promise. The writer is permitted time to reflect, then revise; a speaker is vulnerable to the pitfalls of generating their point in the claustrophobic present. Print demands an obsessive preoccupation with translating the mechanics of an activated imagination, which is then passed down through the waiting intellect. Symbol is converted into words which must permit themselves to be inserted into a rational narrative, so as to not garishly draw attention to the echoes the symbol is intended to convey. Whether the writer is aware of the full potentiality of their symbols is of little matter, for they are only one half of the equation which formulates the passage of this communication.

Ultimately, it is the reader who is illuminated by any depth of expression & a convincing argument could be formulated to demonstrate that the author is not the more qualified in the intimate relationship between author & reader, to receive the full potential of impact. The personality which arranges for the imagination of an ambitious writer to craft a satisfactory piece of work is vulnerable to influences which the neutrality of a curious reader is not.

Original intent is activated in stages, in compounded layers. The personality of the creator of this landscape, conceived in any number of forms, is superfluous to the success of this exchange. Of singular importance is what has been captured within print.

“ She wants to hide away & yet she wants to control pieces of the universe. I suppose that is what is characteristic of writers. They want to be hermits & they want to imagine being directors of some vast stage of humanity.”
                                                               ~ Cynthia Ozick 

{All artwork by Hannah Hoch}


  1. "The personality which arranges for the imagination of an ambitious writer to craft a satisfactory piece of work is vulnerable to influences which the neutrality of a curious reader is not."

    Then there are the characters who sometimes take over a story while it is being written and write the story from their point of view---a POV that doesn't always match the writer's personality. For instance, the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  2. Absolutely. Or ideas that promise solid material in the mind so easily shredding to insignificance once stretched into language. I remind myself occasionally to embrace the dichotomy. Thank you so much for leaving such thoughtful;l feedback. I appreciate the close reading. Have a lovely day.