I was reading some reviews I wrote just a few months ago, and although I remember writing them and I remember feeling content about the final texts, I now find them strange or off at places. Sometimes, when I am about to post a review that I drafted some weeks ago I have to rewrite the whole thing just because it doesn’t look good to me anymore, although it did back then.
I wonder if that’s the way authors write their books? Does it mean that if they never publish their book but keep changing it according to the way they feel at a given moment, the book will keep growing throughout life like a plant without ever acquiring a solidified form? In fact, I once heard one author saying that he would have changed one part in his book (the one I didn’t like either) had he been writing the book nowadays. What would happen to Lolita then, for example? Would Lolita happen at all?
I definitely feel that some modern books didn’t grow properly or fully. They were plucked too early from their drafts so that they could be put on shelves and promptly sold.
I’m sure a similar change of perception happens to readers too. You read a book and enjoy it. You still think you love the book so you open it later to live through all the emotions again but there are only shells left while the essence has vanished. The book itself didn’t change! And yet it feels completely different.
Maybe there is never just a book but an author’s perception crossed with a reader’s perception at a certain moment of time. Ten different people will read ten different books even though the books would have the same author and title. And then they will read ten more books from the same pages if they open the book later.
Have you noticed it too?
6 thoughts on “Do you notice how far you are from your recent perception?”
I know what you’re saying here, if a writer kept going they would never finish so it needs publishing. Also a reader will read and take things from their own unique perspective… interesting isn’t it?
yeah, exactly. Do you ever feel like you are ready with your story or is there always something you think you can add or change?
I am thinking now about all those books read at the wrong time as obligatory school reading, butchered. But then again, maybe it worked for some. I discovered Nabokov via school curriculum but it took me a couple of decades to forgive War and Peace and to return to it again 🙂
I think I get to a point where I need to end the story, but that’s just me. I can always play with it though…
Sometimes when I read an old review it feels like it was written by a different person. I suspect authors fall into a few different camps: those who are constantly tinkering with their text and maybe never finish, those who do a first draft, first rewrite, and maybe a polish before sending it to the agent/publishers and those who just do a first draft, a polish and then send off. I’ve certainly experienced many books that fall into the last category and they would really have benefited from stronger editing/rewriting.
Do our perceptions change? I believe they do as we mature. I read Jane Austen when I was a teenager and couldn’t understand what people meant when they talked about her wit. I couldn’t find anything funny at all. But reading her in my early 30s, the wit just popped out immediately
Thanks for your comment! I really enjoyed it. I’m still not sure how this change in perspective happens and if it’s linear – I mean it seems that sometimes it takes years and sometimes it’s just a few weeks? It’s strange 🙂 and interesting.
I wonder if its related to the brain’s capacity to connect different pieces of info and then re-assemble them in a new order so we get a different view ? A scientist will probably tell me I’m talking rot but it’s good to speculate
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