Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writing in the House of Dreams

British author Jenny Alexander has posted the story of how 

my novel, The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story, was 

'conceived.' Read it now at her blog, "Writing in the House 

of  Dreams." And tell me what you think. I've invited Ms.

Alexander to be my guest on this site and she has graciously

accepted the invitation. I'm looking forward to having her 

share about the wisdom of dreams and their importance in 

our lives. 

(c) 2012 by Alfred J. Garrotto

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Inviting Readers to Rewrite My Stories

This post first appeared as a guest blog on the site of mystery writer, Camille Minichino, "The Real Me."  I am happy now to bring it home for my readers here to share.

As an author of fiction who writes for publication, I hold my stories lightly when I share them with my readers. I try not to be too possessive or caught up in “will they get it?” It has taken time, but I have come to understand that no two persons reading the same book will read it the same way, let alone imbibe the author’s precise intent. The same is true of film and the performing arts. No two movie goers interpret the same film in exactly the same way.
I’ve known this all my life as a reader and film lover. Now that I am on the other side of the artistic process, I am aware that I must let readers ‘rewrite’ my novels, find their own interpretation, and apply them to their own lives. I am no longer caught up in whether they “get” my story. Once out of my hands, it becomes their story.
The following “Aha!” passage in Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman made this insight click for me: “Once readers put a text in other words, they have changed the words. This is not optional when reading; it is not something you can choose not to do when you peruse a text. The only way to make sense of a text is to read it, and the only way to read it is by putting it in other words, and the only way to put it in other words is by having words to put it into, and the only way you have other words to put it into is to have a life, and the only way to have a life is by being filled with desires, longings, needs, wants, beliefs, perspectives, worldviews, opinions, likes, dislikes—and all the other things that make humans human. And so to read a text is, necessarily, to change a text(the underline is mine).
Now, I look forward to readers’ interpretations of my stories. I  especially enjoy having someone discover a level of meaning beyond my conscious intent. Recently, I received this message in an e-mail from a reader: “The value of The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story is in it’s real life application to modern-day sainthood. In their day, all of our martyred saints’ lives (and deaths) would have been every bit as gruesome. In a sense, not to die and to live through it, may be even more brutal to the human spirit. Yet these two saints do survive.” That’s more than I had in mind when I wrote the book, and I am grateful to this reader—and others—for helping me to better understand my own stories.

(c) 2012 by Alfred J. Garrotto
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The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story is available in paperback and all e-book formats.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blogging at "Camille Minichino--The Real Me"

Today I have the privilege of guest blogging at "Camille Minichino--The Real Me." I hope you'll visit as I muse about the need for authors to let go of their stories once they share their creations with the universe. My understanding is that every reader becomes a co-author with the original writer. I hope you'll take a moment to read my short reflection and comment with how you see this process working--as a writer and/or reader.

Alfred J. Garrotto

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest Blogger: Mystery Writer Camille Minichino

I am pleased to welcome my friend, colleague, and renowned mystery writer Camille Minichino, who today launches her third series with, The Probability of Murder. Writing as Ada Madison, she introduces her latest sleuth, college professor Sophie Knowles. 

It's an honor to have Ada Madison stop by at "The Wisdom of Les Miserables" as she continues her whirlwind launch-day blog tour. Get the full scoop about Camille/Ada, her noms de plume, and her crime solving protagonists on her website.

Small Truths, Great Truths

Where do you go when you need wisdom and a good quote? To a Nobel physicist, of course. Niels Bohr, born the year Victor Hugo died, and a pioneer in atomic structure, kept me up all night wondering about this observation. 

I thought blogging about it might help, or at least spark a good debate:
“There are two kinds of truth, small truth and great truth. You can recognize a small truth because its opposite is a falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another truth.”

 It's clear how this works for a small truth. It's Monday, March 12, 2012 is a small truth. "It's not Monday, March 12, 2012," is clearly false, at least for a day. Small truths are simple, and often temporary, it seems: He's tall. I'm hungry. It's freezing outside.

What about the great truths? Say, one of the great truths of the Bible? In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

What would be its opposite? That the heaven and the earth created God, for example?

Now I get it. This fits in with my understanding of Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality, 1929): "It is as true to say that God is permanent and the World fluent, as that the World is permanent and God is fluent."

Who's to say which of these statements is the truer? They're both great truths. We can live wisely by either one.

 I'm reminded of an old cartoon where the dialogue goes like this:
Character 1: "Do you think humans on earth are the only intelligent life in the universe?"
Character 2: "Either way, it's a sobering thought."

I'll have to admit, for words of wisdom, cartoons are a close second to physics.
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Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of the suspense novel, The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story.