Part of the fun in reading, for me at least, is wondering what the author was thinking about or going through as they wrote the book. As an English major, I was taught to never take anything at face value. My professors would all but smack me upside the head if I dared to suggest that perhaps the author merely wanted to write a story about a woman who had a daydream about purchasing a pair of silk pantyhose.
So many of the books and stories that I studied were written long enough ago that their story tellers are no longer around to explain his or herself. And that’s part of the appeal to me. That’s how I get to participate in the story and not merely observe it play out. I get to read between the lines and imagine my own side stories. In this way, each story is unique to each reader as well. It’s possible that no one reads the same book the same way.
But this is becoming harder to come by in this technological age. With all the social media sites, blogs, websites, and author interviews, most authors seem more than willing to divulge all their secrets.
Every once in a while we stumble across a Stanley Kubrick or David Lynch who refuse to spell out the truth behind their plots. Yes, I realize that these are directors and not authors, but I’m fairly confident that these ideas started with a simple pen and paper.
Part of being a successful author today is making yourself accessible to and catering to your audience. The question that I ask myself is: where do we draw the line? Or do we? How many of our inner secrets do we bring to the light of day for all to see? It’s arguable that as authors we do that anyway. Regardless of how we write something, it’s always possible that someone will be able to decipher our code, if we have one. I still maintain that some authors write stories without a subliminal plot.
This leads me to ask another question: why do humans have to know everything about everything? Why do we not allow ourselves mysteries? More often than not, I like not knowing. It lets me be creative and it lets me believe that this is still a magical and mysterious world, which is a world that is much more fun to live in than our scientific and politically correct one. And there is something so liberating in being able to honestly say to yourself that you don’t have to know everything. It makes the sun shine a little brighter, the rain smell a little sweeter, and the clouds a little fluffier.