Back in high school, when I took calculus, I remember there was something called "change over time." I think we represented it with the Greek letter delta. I've forgotten an awful lot I learned in calculus, but lately I've been thinking about change over time - as it relates to writing, of course.
I've been re-reading Charles Dickens' OLIVER TWIST at the gym lately on my iPad (there's a sentence I'd never have expected to write). I first read it when I was about 12 or 13 years old. After watching a movie adaptation on Netflix, I found myself wondering how accurate my memories of the story truly were, and how my experience of it might be different at the age of 45 than it was 30 plus years ago. The adult me is infinitely better tuned to Dickens' wry tone and scathing condemnation of his society than the adolescent me. But beyond that, there were entire sections I had completely forgotten (or perhaps blocked out) and even characters I barely remembered or noticed the first time that stand out much more this time through. My impressions of other characters are completely changed. Fagin and the Artful Dodger, for example, seemed much more complex, almost sympathetic, on my first round, while their villainy and self-interested motives appear obvious now.
I remember my mother had a similar reaction to SILAS MARNER. In high school she thought it was boring and stupid. As an adult, she found it deeply moving. So, now I'm on a mission. The next on my list is Jane Austen, who left me utterly cold when I first read her stuff in high school. We'll see what I think of Mr. Darcy and the rest this time through.
The words don't change with time, but we do, and we, the readers, are co-creators with an author. We stage and interpret their work in our mind's eye, and as our minds change, our experience of the story changes.
Change over time affects us as writers, too, a fact that can prove especially challenging when you work on something over the course of many years. But that's a story for another blogpost, one I suspect will be entitled THE MOVING TARGET.
I've spent the past few days working on a character wheel for the protagonist of a young adult novel I'm writing called SCHISM, wh...
A depression-era circus, the Florida everglades, a dystopic future society, Nazi Germany - all settings of great books I've read in ...
This week, I've been thinking about seeds and writing . I've been thinking about what some people call writer's block and othe...
So here I was preparing to write a post about the Catch-22 of the introverted writer profile and the current demand that writers excel a...