the reading, and the unsaid.

It all went well, lots of people who were kind enough to laugh at the right parts. I’m told that I pulled off the Georgia accent, though the one native Georgian who could have confirmed that couldn’t make it.

Someone asked a question that I thought I should repeat here. She wanted to know why I hadn’t been more explicit about a crucial event in the backstory. The two main characters had a very intense relationship five years earlier, over the course of a summer, and then broke up. But the reason for the breakup is never spelled out clearly. You get some of his thoughts on it, you get some of hers, and also her mother’s take on the whole thing. There are also a lot of hints sprinkled here and there. But I never tied it all together, and why not?

This is a good question, one I get a lot and not just about this book. I like a novel in which some things are left for me to figure out on my own. I appreciate it when an author doesn’t bam me over the head with answers to everything. This is something I strive for in my own work, and sometimes, I am very willing to acknowledge, with too much success. Not every reader is ready to invest that much energy in a story. They come away irritated rather than intrigued, the same way that my tendency toward a lot of characters is off putting to some readers.

So here’s my take on this situation: my style is my own, and it won’t work for every reader out there. There are authors I don’t read because of specific stylistic or mechanical idiosycracies that rub me the wrong way. There are authors I adore for the same reasons.

Really what I wanted to say is, I step back from revealing too much in order to give the reader the chance to draw some conclusions on his or her own. Sometimes a reader will draw a conclusion that is — not to put too fine a point on it — not at all what I had in mind. Either because they read something into the hints that I hadn’t intended (which is just fine, by the way), or for some other reason. But this is not me trying to fool or confuse or tease the reader. There’s no sense of being sly or mysterious. I just like leaving some things unsaid.

I haven’t been posting a lot because well, the Mathematician is still in spinal limbo, and I’m trying to write. However. If you have something specific you’d like to ask, or some topic you’d like me to address, please speak up in the comments. That kind of nudge will remind me to take some time to post here.