My second biggest fear in writing was being misunderstood (my first biggest was being afraid of it stinking). It’s understandable. I think a lot of us express ourselves artistically to let loose some part of ourselves. So people sometimes see misinterpretation of their art to directly equal a misinterpretation of who they are.
It’s fair to feel let down. On the other hand, when we share art we have to expect people will view it through the lens of who they are. For example, the thought of tea parties gives me the warm fuzzies, but to Virginia Woolf “even a tea party means apprehension, breakage”. People’s first (and sometimes only) responses are usually tied to the emotions and thoughts most familiar to them.
Do I like it when people overlook some of the bleeding heart bits I season my work with? No, not particularly. But do I like it when something I wrote really touches a reader, intentionally or not? Heck yeah!
I’ve written things that are 100% true, but phrased them in a way that could have multiple interpretations--Honey for example, which a lot of people assumed was about an affair. Debra from She Who Seeks got the closest when she asked if it was about Winnie the Pooh.
It was about my husband – and how his formerly out-of-control sweet tooth led to his diabetes. I’ve often said I’d trust the man in a house of ill-repute, unless the house of ill-repute was loaded up with baking supplies, in which case he’d spend the whole night preparing culinary masterpieces so the ladies could carb load for energy.
|Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash|
My husband’s response to the piece was eye-rolling and saying, “At least you didn’t kill me off again.” He insists that some of the poems I’ve written make it sound like he’s dead (to which I respond that the petite morte poems I’ve written have a solid grounding in fact, thanks to him). It just goes to show that even someone close to you can see something wildly different than you intended.
Being misunderstood isn’t my number two fear. Persistent typos after several rounds of edits take that spot.
This essay is in response to Moonlight Musings Interactive Edition over at Poets United
Song Choice: I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow