Tunes for a Monday Morning
Writers and readers, part 2

Writers and readers

Hillside 1

Mossy oak

"A book, properly written, is an invitation for a reader to enter: to join with the writer in a creative act: the act of reading. A novel, it has been said, is a mechanism for generating interpretations. If interpretation is limited to what the author 'meant,' the creative opportunity has been missed. Each reading should a unique meeting, leading to a new interpretation. Nor should the writer's duty end at the text.

"Writing is solitary and isolate, but only in execution. I work alone, in an empty room; yet that work, though solitary, is not private. Somewhere, in another place and another time, which will become another here and another now, there will be a communication with another mind. My duty is first to the text, because the writer is, by writing, above all making a claim for excellence. In working the language, as a farmer works the land, we seek to strengthen it against abuse, to protect it against decay, to encourage it towards growth. We hope to leave the language a little better for our writing; and that writing is achieved only in isolation. Yet, at the end, there is always somebody, an unknowable 'you,' whom I wish to reach."

- Alan Garner (The Voice That Thunders)

Hillside 3

Hillside 4

The Voice That Thunders by Alan Garner

"The writer, functioning in a magical medium, an abstract medium, does one half of the work, but the reader does the other. The reader's mind becomes the screen, the place, the era. To a large extent, readers create the world from words, they invent the reality they read. Reading therefore is a co-production between writer and reader. The simplicity of this tool is astounding. So little, yet out of it whole worlds, eras, characters, continents, people never encountered before, people you wouldn't care to sit next to on a train, planets that don't exist, places you've never visited, enigmatic fates, all  come to life in the mind, painted into existence by the reader's creative powers. In this way, the creativity of the write calls up the creativity of the reader. Reading is never passive."

- Ben Okri (A Way of Being Free)

Hillside 5

"All sorts of pleasant and intelligent people read my books and write thoughtful letters about them. I don't know who they are, but they are marvelous and seem to live quite independly of the prejudices of advertising, journalism, and the cranky academic world. The room where I work has a window looking into a wood, and I like to think that these earnest, loveable, and mysterious readers are in there."  - John Cheever (quoted in The Writers' Desk by Jill Krementz)

Hillside 6

Hillside 7

"I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss -- you can't do it alone."  - John Cheever (Christian Science Monitor, 1979)

Hillside 8

Hillside 9

''Books. They are lined up on shelves or stacked on a table. There they are wrapped up in their jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages. They look like such orderly, static things. Then you, the reader come along. You open the book jacket, and it can be like opening the gates to an unknown city, or opening the lid of a treasure chest. You read the first word and you're off on a journey of exploration and discovery.''  -  David Almond

The Writer's Desk

Wildflowers

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