In the Elton John song “Your Song,” the composer of the romantic song admits that he’s forgotten if his lover’s eyes are green or blue, but anyway, what he really means is that they’re the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen.
I was thinking about this song the other day as I read this really fascinating article about the “hidden messages” in children’s literature.
Because, you see, at a certain point, our words are no longer entirely our words, and we can no longer control the messages that other people read into them. It’s entirely possible that the author of “The Little Engine That Could” didn’t intend it to be read as a feminist text, but does that really matter anymore? We can’t tell you what to think about the words we put on paper, because we can’t control your thoughts.
And, the more that I think about it, the more I don’t really want to. I want you to read my words and come up with your own spin, your own interpretation. I want my book to be about something personal for you. I don’t know you, but I want you to feel like I do, like I’m writing something completely and entirely for you. And, in all honesty, it might not be something I was even conscious of while I was writing it, but I don’t think that makes your reading of it any less valid. Books are a joint venture in the end: I give you words from my heart, and you take them into your heart, and on whatever level we have connected, we create our joint conversation: Our Unique Book. Because everyone reads a book differently, and that is the joy of books. They’re not black or white, they’re prisms.
That said, what I do hope is that we do connect, somehow, someway. That is my greatest dream and fondest wish. We might disagree on whether the eyes I was writing about were green or blue. But I hope that what we do agree about is that what I meant was that they’re pretty gorgeous. 🙂
Skylar is a native Rhode Islander who fully believes that the best type of ice cream shake is called a cabinet (and she prefers a chocolate one). Boston gave her a degree in English (from Boston College), a degree in law (from Harvard), and the setting for her first novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, about a teenager who finds out she’s half-faerie-princess and half-ogre. Skylar loves tea (hot and iced), breakfast for dinner, and the Red Sox. You can find her wasting time on Twitter and Tumblr.