THE ART OF THE PUPPETEER
On Monday, I did another radio interview for my books, Heart Land and Gothic Spring. I’ve been lucky to meet some wonderful hosts and Monday’s was no exception. He’d pulled out nuances from the text that I’d put there, mostly to amuse myself. Being discovered, I wanted to giggle like a school girl caught passing a note to her boyfriend in class.
One needn’t catch all the nuances of a story to enjoy it; but once discovered, they provide an additional note, a richness like the fruity after taste of a good wine.
I never set out to analyze a wine in order to appreciate it, nor should a reader be required to pull apart a work to admire its scaffolding. Sometimes scholars go too far in this direction. I heard a story once about Theodore Dreiser and his novel, Sister Carrie. After his lecture at a prestigious American university, Dreiser was accosted by a graduate student eager to discuss his thesis. Dreiser listened for half an hour while the scholar expounded on the subtleties of the book. Finally, the young man paused to ask the author what he thought of the analysis. Dreiser is said to have lifted his eyebrows in surprise. “Did I do all that, really? I never knew.”
Still, when someone catches me out, finds my footprint in the sand, I confess to the guilty pleasure of being discovered. It’s true I wrote earlier that what matters is the song and not the singer, and I meant every word of it. But occasionally, a puppeteer doesn’t mind coming out from behind the curtain if it gives the reader pleasure. Together they share a secret and are apt to send each other a knowing wink.