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target.jpgI knew someone once who would often write blog posts and then delete them. The ones he deleted were the ones that were the most raw – the ones where his soul was on display to his readers. Of course, this was the very reason he’d delete them. Having your soul in the public domain isn’t an easy way to live. I told him “the ones that are the most painful are the best posts”. He interpreted my words as saying that I liked reading about him in pain. I didn’t. I just liked the vividness of his words when he wrote such pieces.

This highlights something that has been on my mind a lot recently – that how words are received is about the reader more than the writer.

In earlier incarnations of my blog, I argued constantly with various readers. I’d write something, they’d put their own spin on it and turn it into something it wasn’t, and then I’d be expected to defend their mis-interpretation. I never realised how much of what I wrote was caught up in this maelstrom. Last week, I was reading the archives of some of my previous blogs. I was surprised how much of a dominant theme it was. And how many times I was ignored when I said “I write, you read” or “Try only abusing me for what I wrote, not for the words that aren’t there”.

I realised though when I was reading the earlier posts (and more particularly some comments that have been left) on the current incarnation. When I wrote this post, I didn’t respond to the comments, and I just remembered the comments as critical of the idea. So I thought I’d put the idea away for a while, and think about it some more. But when I went back recently, I discovered the comments weren’t critical at all. So maybe at the time, I was misreading what the commenters were saying?



  1. Aurelius
    Interesting that you argued constantly!

    Agree with you on the words being about the reader!

  2. I’ve been lucky not to experience much of that – mine was mostly conducted in RL (with the exception of the one and only comment from a family member I’ve ever received!).

    It is true about the deleted ones – I’ve only removed one and I know at least one person read it as they asked me about it in person. Sometimes passion is firier than sense ;o)

  3. I like your introspection.

  4. I tend to think about this often. You create words, form them into sentences, paragraphs, and then release them. We have no control over what the reader does with them. With the written word it is very easy for them to be misinterpreted, or misconstrued. We have no physical cues for tonality, no body language for guidance. Sure a persons vocabulary should give a general sense, but with some people, that can make it harder to determine the intent behind the words.

    And you’re right about the personal ones being the most appealing. There’s a voyuer inside us all. Only peeling back the layers can satisfy it.

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