Monday, October 17, 2011

Different Perception From Writers and Readers

I entered a poem in the 3011 Kansas Authors annual contest. The poem is one that was written after I'd accidentally broken one of the pottery art pieces in Ken's collection. Needless to say, I felt really awful when I saw it lying on the floor in pieces. He was not home at the time and the more I thought about it, the worse I felt about it. Thus "Shattered" was written and duly subbed to my crit group. They liked it but had some suggestions for a few minor changes. I revised it a bit before sending it to the contest.

The poem didn't place in the free verse category, but the judge wrote a lengthy comment and attached it to my poem. She had some nice things to say about the writing itself, but she also left me with mouth open and a "huh?" in my mind as she spoke about the fear and dissolving of a longtime relationship between the husband and wife, the fear of abuse etc etc. What I wrote and what she read were two different things completely. No one in my writers critique group saw that at all, but they also know me personally and know I have a good relationship with my husband.

That's one of the problems of the written word. The perception of the reader can be miles away from that of the writer. And yes, poetry is filled with metaphors, but my poem was telling about a mishap and my sadness at losing something I knew my husband loved. My husband, whom I love dearly, and have never feared one instant. not a nanosecond, of the more than half-century I've known him. The judge was making the poem far more intriguing and involved than it was ever meant to be.

The point here is that we need to be careful in our writing, try to wite with clarity and conciseness. When you've let the first draft simmer a few days and go back to look at it and do a rewrite, one of the questions to ask yourself might be "How will others react to what I've said? What perception will they have?" Keep in mind that the writer's perception and the reader's may be miles apart.

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