Friday, January 5, 2024

The Readers Responsibility

 The discovery that my readers have a responsibility when they read my or anyones writing was an epiphany. I had always thought that I needed to tell every detail so my reader would understand. The color and setting and even the mindset of the person telling the story needed to be put on the paper. Then it occurred to me as a writer that the reader is also responsible.

In blog reading there are rules. 

    -If you are a troll that controls your world by tearing it down, go away. Bringing the writer down with you is not right. It is mean and hurtful. 

    -Every reader needs to bring to writing a willing and imaginative mind. Not all writers write "literally". The words should allow you to create your own color and location. If I give you a recipe with exact measurements, that is one thing. If I am writing philosophically, exploring thoughts, or telling a story, that is different. 

    - Many writer need encouragement to grow with the reader. Comments are appreciated.

Having said that, I for one recognize that each person brings their own meaning to the words. The story I wrote about Frog lately required you to just go with the concept of "talent". It was not specific in the "who what where when" and I did received feedback. When I wrote about being Perfect, some thought that striving for perfect was too much. In my mind Perfect was very different from Perfection. But you bring your own meaning to words so that is what I want you to do.

If I were to tell the whole story you would have had to see the world through the eyes of a small, dusty, well used village located in a small valley in Oregon. Streets would have been unpaved with potholes filled with water. Coal fired stream engines would have filled the air with coal smoke and cinders that appeared in the laundry hung on the lines. Dogs would be mating in the streets and the teacher that lived beneath the hill would be entertaining her very handsome husband. It would be Saturday night.

I would tell you about my Swedish great-grandmother that came to live in a tent house before she had her 4 children and a great-grandfather that signed his name with an X. You would know that he had helped build the bridges on the railroad, those same railroad bridges that are still in use. The year would be 1953.

My husband's parents. The hills 
behind them are the hills I grew
up climbing.
The story would have begun with a small house that I came home to as a boby just 5 miles away from that dusty little town. It would have included a company town built around a mine. 

Yet, in the story with thoughts about two characters that grew up in that world, you didn't need to know that. You could have found those characters in the deep south of the USA or in the outback of Australia. It was up to you.

So, dear readers, are you working at living up to your responsibility so I can write for you? Is this the year, 2024, when you will let your imagination run wild? I certainly hope so.



  1. There's so much food for thought in this, Barbara. For both readers and writers. Thank you.

  2. Great post. I have never really thought about a reader's responsibility. Blog comments help the writer know if you have written something of interest that provokes a thought, memory or call to action.

  3. I know a comment is so important for an emerging writer. We can help each other be better and better.


Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

Featured Post

It's All Good...I Think

You loose...sorry! life is not perfect! What is a person going to do. When my husband passed away I went straight to anger and that ...