When I think about the magic of reading, I think of you, my dear reader. How encouraging to think of you there, with a book propped under your chin, perhaps on the cross town bus, or in your bunny slippers in your favorite leather recliner, or ducked under the bedcovers with that trusty, bendy little reading lamp that might need a replacement AAA battery before this chapter ends.

Your brain is busy translating those inky little symbols that march across the page under your brown eyes into images of far-off places, fleeting thoughts, tangy tastes, and pungent smells. So, in a way, we are collaborators. Without you, I stagnate, but when you read, your mental alchemy turns my mortal words into inspiration.

I don’t know you. I don’t know what your yearnings, whims, or daydreams are made of. But I do know one thing: you read. And I’m flattered that of all the millions of books, blogs, essays, and magazines you have to choose from, here you sit – reading my words.

We are kindred spirits – I too love to read – but I also love to write. You are whcrosswordat an agent or publisher or marketing strategizer would call ‘my ideal reader.’ Ask me and I’ll say my ideal reader is one that makes me just plain happy they read while eating their oatmeal, or pounding away on that blasted stair stepper, or passing the time before the sandman visits.

Your choice to spend your precious minutes reading my words makes me determined to commit to doing my best with all the craft and heart and inspiration I can conjure. You have spent your hard-earned dollars to buy my words rather than that new winter sweater, or the paint to prime that dingy bedroom, or your favorite merlot that went on sale for one day only.

Other authors describe the exhilaration when seeing their story being read on the commuter train, at the bus stop, or propped against an iced tea on one of those petite round tales outside a French restaurant. They long to pull back the mask and confess, “Nice weather today, oh and BTW, I wrote that book you’re reading.” But I know you and I prefer to keep our distance, you wanting an uninterrupted encounter with another reality and me not wanting to invade that private world where you sit reading. Take your time. And thank you.mathnotes

2 thoughts on “Alchemy

  1. I agree that figuring out who we are writing for is crucial to connecting with those readers. It is strange to think of people we don’t know reading our work. Somehow, for me, that idea is less stressful than thinking of people I do know reading it. I always wonder if people we don’t know actually judge our writing more objectively than friends and family.

  2. You are so right about the unknown reader being a better judge. They choose to read us without the entanglements of prior relationships that make them feel obligated to say nice things. Yes, we love the loyalty of the friends and family but savor the adventure of knowing that someone new has joined our tribe.

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