Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mind if I climb inside your head?

I recently read an article in The Walrus — Canada’s answer to Harpers — in which the author said something that really resonated with me.

Have you ever stopped to think that whenever you read something, you’re allowing the writer access to your consciousness at its most intimate level?

Like right now. I’m actually inside your head, talking to you. I’m making you visualize my words. As long as you keep reading this, I can dictate exactly what you’re thinking.

Hi there! I just made you hear those words inside your head, didn’t I? Now, imagine someone knocking very loudly on your front door. Could it be the cops? A bad guy? Someone selling magazines?

I’ll bet you “heard” the sound of those knuckles on your door, probably saw the cop, the bad guy, the magazine salesman. If you have a really good imagination, you probably even saw them as a more than rudimentary “images”. Reading my words made you do that — and you couldn't help yourself.

Now suppose I tell you that you’ve just returned home and found the dead body of someone you barely know, gruesomely murdered in your bedroom. You’ve barely had time to respond, your pulse is through the roof and you feel as if you’re going to pass out. That’s when you hear the loud knock at the door.

Hear it? Is your heart rate up even a teensy bit? Mine is and I’m writing this stuff!

As writers, we don’t really think about what sort of relationship we have with our readers, but it is pretty darn intimate when you stop and think, isn’t it?

It is also just about the coolest reason I can think of to keep doing what I love to do.

I’m leaving now. By the way, you really need to clean your monitor. There’s a big smudge on the lower right.

1 comment:

Donis Casey said...

The reader may be letting the author in his head, but it works the other way around, as well. Mutual mind (intimacy). Calling Doctor Freud!