Thursday, February 2, 2012
Peanut on Writing #1
I've had my dog Peanut for about five weeks now. He doesn't speak English or Thai--and don't get me started on his French. I, as well, have yet to figure how to speak Peanutese. Really, the inability to tell him that I'll be back in just a couple of minutes or that we can't cross the street because we are waiting for the light to change or that I love him can be frustrating.
But the stories are true, and somehow a lot of my intentions seem to make it through to him. He can tell when I'm mad or scared or confident, even though, to my knowledge, I'm not doing anything to show those emotions outwardly. This invisible communication has such a big affect that already I'm finding myself able to stay calmer and cooler because I know that my attitude makes a difference to him.
We're working on walking around the neighborhood. At first I was letting him lead the way a lot of the time, sniffing wherever he wanted to sniff, as long as it didn't involve him snatching something that looked to be poisonous or disgusting. A funny thing happened, though. With all of his freedom, he would occasionally just stop and whimper. Without my direction, he sometimes got disoriented.
It's the same way with reading, isn't it?
I feel like with some stories I'm being confidently led from one stop to the next. The direction feels clear. At other times, I get frustrated because I feel like I'm just randomly going from place to place with no one guiding me. In all the reading that I've done, I've never quite been able to point to phrases or words and say, "Here. This is why I feel secure in my reading." That guiding force seems to be invisible, just like the feeling of confidence I get with some books and not with others.
The idea of invisible communication between writer and reader is something that makes no sense to me. (At least with Peanut I can blame my smell.) With reading I often feel like that invisible communication is nothing but magic--and I don't particularly believe in magic.
So, what do you think it is? What are the subtle cues that a writer gives off that communicates to us beyond the lever of a story? Am I the only one who feels it? Does this fall back into the idea of authorial intention, which may or may not have any impact on a reader?
Posted by Davin Malasarn at 6:14 AM