I’ve been reading Words without Music by Philip Glass. His memoir recalls meetings with some very interesting visual artists.  He worked with Richard Serra and through John Cage he was introduced to Marcel Duchamp. (I recently viewed an exhibit in San Francisco: http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/06/26/exhibition/28372/san-francisco-duchamp-in-pasadena-by-julian-wasser )  Cage credits Duchamp with the idea that the listener completes the work.  It  was one source of inspiration for Cage’s famous 4’33”, a composition for a pianist to sit at the piano for exactly 4 minutes and 33 seconds.  What the listener hears is the piece so each listener could potentially hear a different piece.

Glass goes on to say “A work of art has no independent existence. It exists because people see if or hear it or experience it.”

I want to transfer that idea to the written word here.  A piece of writing will ring differently for various readers because of those readers’ particular schemas.  I may pay more attention to the relationships of mothers and daughters because I have two daughters or my emotions will be swayed more easily if an author pens a piece about a mother with Alzheimer’s disease. Consider that your reader will absorb what is true to his experience, so do not worry that your piece will have enough vampires, zombies and sex.  Concern yourself with writing what is truth.

duchamp