Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Questions Of Readers & My Own

Readers have at times approached me with questions about Dweller On The Boundary, which I am happy to oblige if I can. Interacting with curious readers has spawned my own questions to which I do not have the answers, but I still ponder. How do readers that have interacted with me, perceive me when compared to the character version of me in the book? What are their expectations and how do I align with the child version of me that they read a novel about? I never have asked a reader these questions, though it is something that leaves me curious. 
 
I have spent hours in conversation about that book with various people and have been asked many a question. I like the questions, even the more odd or intrusive ones, if the person asking is sincere and genuine in their interest. There are some questions that I will not answer, but readers have mostly asked questions that I am happy to answer.

I opened myself up to questions as I invited readers to engage with a version of me that was between the ages of seven to seventeen. When answering questions now as a man in his late forties I wonder which version of me they expect? Most readers, aside from family or close friends, will have formed opinions about me strictly from the novel without knowing much about my adult life or what transpired since the end of Dweller On The Boundary.

Writing about myself set on the table expectations about whom I must be as a person. I consider myself the same person at my core that I was as a child, fundamentally unchanged and with the same basic character traits. Of course I am not suspended in time, I have matured and grown over thirty years. Life changed me as the world has changed too in the decades since - though the world may perhaps have more drastically changed than I have. I still play chess, enjoy nature, photography remains a hobby and I live for music and reading.

Interacting with readers has been informative for me as I have enjoyed learning that some of them see pieces of themselves reflected in the story. That reassures me that I have written something relatable to a wider audience than I had expected. You do not have to be like me, a gay boy that grew up in the 1980s in the rural southern United States to understand or relate to this book and that is satisfying for me to learn. Underpinning this story there are the shared experiences of youth and finding yourself and for others there are more shared experiences such as the time period, the location or coming from a dysfunctional family.

One reader expressed that they were uneasy at saying they enjoyed the book due to its content. My response is that it is okay to enjoy the book, it is a form of entertainment after all. I am not going to take offense at someone saying that they enjoyed the book. I hope people do enjoy the book and maybe learn something from it too.

I welcome questions via email and as always, thank you for reading. My email is listed at the bottom of this page.

Happy new year.