Recently, I’ve come across a few writers complaining about idiotic readings of their work. Which is fine I’ve been known to do the same. But one writer went so far as to claim that there is but one true way to read their work, and that they are the only one privy to it, and yet anyone who reads their work differently is deeply stupid. Excuse me?
Your book no belonga you. If you wrote about the nobility of bad bad banksia men and one of your readers chooses to read your book as a racist attack on bad bad banksia men then that’s their reading and nothing you can do or say will change that reading.
You can write whatever you want, but no matter how finely crafted, no matter how clever you are, some reader out there will read it in a way you find completely inexplicable. Like the friend of mine who persists in thinking that Magic or Madness is a thinly veiled autobiography. What now?
You cannot control the way your books are read. Once a book is published it’s no longer yours. It’s out there being read and interpreted and enjoyed and hated and there’s nothing you can do about it. Not a single thing. Your book no belonga you.
And you know what? That’s mostly a deeply cool thing. I especially enjoyed this review of Magic Lessons by Tansy Rayner Roberts because she talked about one of my characters in ways that surprised me. I honestly hadn’t thought of Esmeralda in that way.
One of the greatest delights of being a writer is having readers reveal your books to you in unexpected ways. Sure, I mightn’t agree with some of their interpretations but so what? They probably don’t agree with some of mine. Cause, you know, my books no belonga me.