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Wreading - the Creative Partnership of a Writer and a Reader

Writing (and its shadow, reading) is a creative act like no other. Not that it is more valuable, or superior, but it is of greater scope, greater potential, and capable of greater immersion than any other. The reason for this is that it is more of a partnership.

In this partnership, the writer is only doing about twenty percent of the work. The other eighty percent takes place in the mind of the reader. That is why reading fiction, done well and in a setting suitable to the reader’s preferences, is one of the most creative things a person can do. It is a guided creation, but a profound one, nonetheless.

When I write, so few words are chosen. I suggest a detail or two about a room, and the whole of it appears in the mind of the reader. The details I choose serve as the spark that explodes imaginations into light. The particular sparks I choose help to shape the scene, to sketch it in, but the richness of it comes from the reader.

A quiet room, a gentle breeze blowing sweet pine fragrances into the nose of the little girl who stood, transfixed, staring at the row of miniature trees lined up along the workbench: Bonsai. At the sound of her shuffling foot, the old man turned his head, caught her eye, and smiled.

I wrote very little there, fifty-one words, but I would wager that if I asked you to picture the room, you could tell me what the wall colour is, what the little girl is wearing, and what the old man looks like. You could tell me if it is light and morning, or dusk, or deep night. You could, with just a moment’s thought, share a great many details about the room to me… none of which I shared with you.  

The writer’s creation is just a carefully crafted acorn; it is up to the reader to grow the oak.

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