The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Dear Reader, you write half of every book

“I like to think of it as a kind of pact between the writer and the reader. The feeling that in each sentence, in each paragraph, the reader gets some beauty from the book in exchange for some darkness that grows in his mind. Or he gets some darkness from the book that obliges him to looks for some beauty in his surroundings. So there is this balance that keeps the reader awake because half of the story is actually happening in his mind. Rebecca Solnit says ‘a book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another,’ I love that feeling as a reader. And I am always trying to create this when I write.” – Samanta Schweblin (“Fever Dream”) in her Full Stop interview.

No, you don’t get half the royalties, so don’t ask.

But, dear reader, as writers, we give you a playing field for your imagination. We provide half a story, so to speak, and you fill in the blanks with whatever frightens you, arouses you, amuses you, or leads you to God.

Storytellers and readers have always shared the responsibility for the final work even though some writers don’t admit it and some readers chafe when asked to do too much.

When we’re feeling good–confident, perhaps–we don’t sell it out. We give you room to work, to explore, to discover what we can never tell you. When we were young and didn’t yet feel secure in our words, we tended to take more than our half of the bed. Later on, we stop hogging all the covers and write all the better for it.

Of course, if you’re feeling lazy, then you can go to the beach reading shelf and find something easy. That’s okay. We read books off that shelf, too. We do hope that, from time to time, you’ll grab your share of the imaginary world and show us what you can do with it.

Malcolm

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