Writers, Readers, and the Balance of Power
A spiritual-ish perspective
A little while back, my fourteen-year-old daughter told me I was a control monkey. It wasn't in jest and it wasn't speculation. It was a declaration of fact, the evidence beyond dispute, any argument on my part only serving to prove the point.
Now, I do have my quirks and yes, I do insist under penalty of death prefer towels be folded a certain way and I've been known to stand in front of my family, tapping my foot and ranting demanding to know who left the empty toilet paper roll on the hanger. But my daughter was talking about my writing, specifically the reason I write.
Her words: because I want to control everything.
My response? I squared my shoulders, raised my chin, looked her dead in the face and said, "Duh!"
As a writer, especially a fiction write, I've heard this before and I can't say I entirely disagree. After all, just look at what I do: I create my own world, my own people and species and make every single element do exactly what I want, when I want, and how I want.
On it's face, that sounds a little...not good. Those who do this sort of thing in the real world are usually called dictators. Or felons. I don't have the balls or the lack of conscience to be either, so is it possible I write out of some twisted need for absolute pow-ah?
The jury's still out on that one.
In my stories, I decide who lives and who dies. I grant true love or devastating heartache with a few clicks of the keyboard. I create new civilizations, change laws and morality, even conjure up new planets. I parcel out abuse and reward on a whim. For a few hundred pages, I am the god of my own world. It's a damn fine gig - while it lasts.
When the last word is written, all that power disappears. It's not taken; I surrender it and do so freely. I send my world into the real world, knowing it will be judged, loved or hated.
It's an incredibly profound moment, the natural culmination of my work.
otherwise, and I'm certainly not propping my opinion on a pedestal as though it's the only correct one.
Readers create writers and writers create readers. It's a symbiotic circle,an exchange of power that demands and deserves the deepest respect. (and alliteration, apparently)
That's how I see things, anyway.
So, yes. I am a control monkey- for a little while. And I write for the days when I can give it up.