The modern publishing world doesn't seem to allow much ambiguity in writing anymore. So often we are told to strive for clarity, but maybe clarity only leads to less memorable stories with shorter lifetimes.
I recently wrote a story called "Red Man, Blue Man," where I tried not to have any point or transcendent ending to the story. If anything, the story is simply a sequential series of events focused on two characters, red man and blue man. I posted this up on an online workshop and got several different reactions to it. The people who admired my work in the past tried hard to find a unified theme of the story. As a result, these readers came up with multiple layers of meaning, pulling in much of their own life experiences. The people who did not admire my past work found a lot of problems with the piece. They suggested dramatic revisions, including breaking the story up into multiple pieces, in which each piece had more of a central focus. Granted, this is a different level of ambiguity that I described above, but it still led to readers finding different meaning in the same piece of prose. Personally, I considered this to be a new kind of success, a new style of writing for me that engaged a reader differently. Whether or not I will continue to pursue this idea is yet to be determined.
Could such amibiguity, either on a language level or a story level, work throughout a novel? Do you think modern readers could appreciate such writing?
Sorry I've been out of touch for a few days. I just flew back to Los Angeles from Paris, and boy are my leathery pterodactyl wings tired.