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The Value Of What We Write March 6, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

The value of what we write lies LESS in what we meant to say or convey . . . and MORE in what readers take away.

Readers don’t have to understand us . . . or the specific intent or emotion behind our words . . . in order to gain something of value.


Everyone who reads a given poem takes something different away from the experience:

* Some may follow the flow of the poem, allowing their inner peace to surface.  They leave, rejuvenated.

* Others may focus on specific imagery, recalling an experience that taught them something about the world.  They leave, emboldened.

* Others may walk away empty-handed . . . because they spent the time trying to understand the poet, rather than allowing the poem to coalesce with their own experiences in life to help them gain perspective.

If I write a line (or two) of complete gibberish, claptrap, and/or gobbledygook (e.g., The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog resting near the white picket fence to snag a bunch of over-ripe grapes hanging above the canine’s over-large head), readers may discern unintended but valuable symbolism in those words.

If they leave “wiser” about the world and their place in it, the ultimate benefit to them is independent of my original intent . . . since all I intended to do was practice my typing skills.

No rules.  Just write!

A book is a mirror; if an ass peers into it, you can’t expect an apostle to peer out.  ~ Georg Christoph Lictenberg

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read. ~ G.K. Chesterton

When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before. ~ Clifton Fadiman

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. ~ Anais Nin

What say you?


1. Jackie L. Robinson - March 6, 2012

No rules – just write! ‘Amen’ to that. xo

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

I always felt that my HS English teachers put more into the poems we read than the poets intended. 😉

Crowing Crone Joss - March 6, 2012

no kidding. Someone they managed to wring every drop of beauty or creativity out of a poem.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Yes! The more they sought to find hidden meanings . . . the faster they dissected and destroyed the beauty of the poem.

I used to challenge them by saying something along the lines of, “Maybe the poet said it that way because the words flowed with beauty?”

They refused to see things my way ~ convinced as they were that every word and syllable HAD to have a hidden agenda. 😉

2. Pocket Perspectives - March 6, 2012

I’ve tried hard to learn to create and write within the awareness of my own positive motivation…and out of my own awarenesses and understandings…. and realize that other people’s reactions are independent of that….that others will take away whatever was meaningful to them….or maybe not meaningful at all….ahhh….I can’t put this into words…but you get it…my only “rule” is to have positive intention as I write for posts…that’s all I can do…

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Gotcha, Kathy. If we write for ourselves, those intended to be in our audience appear (“if you write it, they will come”) . . . while those who are not in our intended audience drift away.

3. eof737 - March 6, 2012

Precisely! Also we tend to gravitate to words and ideas that hold meaning to us because of the memories we attach to them… For instance, I read your post and aside from the beautiful logic of it, a word jumped at me… claptrap! Boy, did that bring back memories of a friend in England who used the word so much it became part of our daily lingua franca for everything we abhorred. See, you were right… the value lies more in what we take away. 🙂

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

It’s been AGES since I’ve used “clap trap” in my writing ~ maybe I included the phrase/word JUST FOR YOU! 😀

eof737 - March 6, 2012

Right! 😆

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

maybe we’re on the same “wave length” at the moment? 😉

4. William D'Andrea - March 6, 2012

When it comes to writing, it depends what I’m writing. Sometimes I just toss things out, to see how people respond. That leads to dialogue, hopefully one that gets people to think. Whether they agree with me or not, I’ve got them thinking, That seems to be the same thing you’re doing, with this blog of yours.

As for the value? Monitarily, I’m being patient. Both my novels are available as e-books for $2.99. For each copy sold, I would receive $1.80. That, along with my senior citizen’s card, would get me three rides on a local bus, along with one transfer. So far not one copy has been sold, and I’m enjoying the Long Island scenery, as I travel along in a public conveyance, spending a lot less than I would if I was driving a car.

As for other values? Until and unless people read my books, they can be no value to anyone.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

True dat, William ~ the value in what we write increases when it’s actually read. 😉

Maybe you should get some inexpensive business cards to hand out with purchase information on the books?

William D'Andrea - March 6, 2012

I’m about to log out for today, and won’t be back on line until Thursday morning, when I’ll give you a thorough answer about what I’ve been doing to publicize the books.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

I can’t remember if I suggested Christine’s blog to you . . . she recently published a book and is exploring marketing options in her posts.

You can find her at:

William D'Andrea - March 8, 2012

I’m just not the kind of person who goes around annoying people by handing out business cards. That’s a good way to lose friends and alienate people.

I’ve been posting all the information on many book promotion sites, where my two books are listed among who knows how many millions.

I’ve also gone to sites where people are already interested in the books’ subject matter. Since both books deal in part with environmental concerns, I’ve gone to environmentalist sites, and posted the information there.

As for finding others to inform, it’s another wander through the wilderness.

I enjoy writing. I never have a greater feeling of satisfaction than when I’m sitting at the keyboard, creating something entirely new. It’s everything after that; trying to find an Agent, then a publisher; then self publishing, and publicizing, that is no fun at all. For me, it’s all been just hard, thankless, unrewarding labor.

But I’m still waiting patiently; which is also no fun at all.

5. sonsothunder - March 6, 2012

Amen… Powerful message. love the images too, especially the nostalgia of the type writer.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

When I make “typos” . . . I prefer the “erase” features available on word processors and computers. But there was something lovely about pounding away on the old typewriters . . . and hitting the carriage return at the end of each line.


6. Piglet in Portugal - March 6, 2012

I read a post, digest in a practical way (without reading other comments) and share my thoughts.
I often return to a particar post, read comments left by others and find I’ve taken something completely different from others interpretation. I often think I orbit in a different universe LOL 😉

Now I looked at your gooblygook because you are normally very precise and thought, oh dear too much wine… 🙂
(just joking, Nancy)

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Bwahaha, PiP! I wrote this this morning . . . so it wasn’t too much wine. {{Hiccup}}

Maybe the State Road 64 song . . . Whiskey for Breakfast . . . is making itself felt. 😉

7. Piglet in Portugal - March 6, 2012

plus I can’t spell

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

I’ve heard it both ways, PiP ~ gobblygook and gobbledygook. Merriam-Webster prefers the latter.

And, apparently, claptrap is one word . . . not two. My bad. 🙄

8. suzicate - March 6, 2012

You’re so right about interpretation! While some of what I write is interpreted as I mean and often times not. Sometimes I purposely write as to not be obvious and other times not. But if I write something that touches someone even though the meaning to them is not what I intended the interpretation is still not lost.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Same here, Suzi. I love it when something I write resonates or strikes a chord with a reader . . . even if it is NOT the chord I intended to play. 😀

That reminds me of a reader (no longer around) who always wanted to “read between the lines” in an effort to psycho-analyze me and “put me in a box.” I told her it was NOT her job to understand ME . . . that was MY job. 😉

9. winsomebella - March 6, 2012

Perception and understanding depend on our individual experience and that is what keeps things interesting. Wouldn’t life be dull otherwise? Great post.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Indeed, Bella . . . we see the world BEHIND our eyes.

Or, stated differently, we don’t see things as THEY are . . . we see things as WE are.

nrhatch - March 12, 2012

I enjoyed your post on kites . . . especially “later by minute later.”

I could not leave a comment because my computer froze up TWICE on your page. Not sure what the hold up is . . . but it might be the size of the photos you used.

Anyway, I tried.

10. souldipper - March 6, 2012

Yep, a book is a mirror. Great quote! The Sufi have a similar one – an ass isn’t holy just because it’s carrying a load of Holy Books.

Since you are a dancer, Nancy:

Waltz, nymph, for quick jigs vex Bud.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Bwahaha! I love the idea of an “unholy ass” carting around Holy Books.

And that’s a great typing test . . . but I might not have been able to find a suitable type-set graphic to accompany it. 😉

11. Lisa Wields Words - March 6, 2012

One of my favorite things to do in a theatre class is to teach a unit on performance art, because it really shows how big a role each individual audience member’s interpretation is to creating meaning in a piece. That is true for anything that comes from the mind of an artist. We express ourselves, but what we express still goes through the interpretation of each individual. That is what makes writing and art so wonderful–but it is also what makes communication such a truly complex challenge. Great post as usual, Nancy!

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

So true, Lisa. Music, Art, Poetry, Sculpture, Dance, Nature . . . what we bring TO IT impacts what we are able to TAKE from it.

The more we OPEN our minds, our hearts, and our eyes . . . the greater the value of ALL we experience. _/!\_

12. sufilight - March 6, 2012

Thanks for this post Nancy! I am very relaxed when it comes to writing, meaning I let myself express how I am even if it may sound strange, and in reading the work of others. I read your comments about Cristine’s marketing for a book; will be sure to check it out.

And thank YOU so much for your support in Amazon regarding my book. It filled me with gratitude that you took the time to show me support. 🙂 Namaste~

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

You’re welcome, Marie. Your insights will inspire others to go inward and upward . . . by encouraging them to open their minds, their hearts, and their eyes.

Definitely check out Christine’s blog ~ I expect that you could inspire each other with marketing ideas and, perhaps as important, instill in each other the MOTIVATION to market.

13. kateshrewsday - March 6, 2012

So true. Tomorrow I’m featuring a poem that’s quite religious: it means a lot to those I love but I am well aware it may send others away empty handed. It’s all about perception…great post, Nancy….

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Thanks for the heads up, Kate. I’ve yet to leave one of your posts empty-handed.

It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.

14. Andra Watkins - March 6, 2012

Nancy, I always enjoy hearing what people take away from my writing. It gives me a different perspective on things, and I always learn something from it.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

I agree, Andra . . . especially if they add astute, profound, or humorous subtexts to my skeletal words. 😉

15. judithhb - March 6, 2012

Hello Nancy – so no rules just write and if somebody out there gets something out of it, I am delighted. And I really appreciate all and comments my words elicit. Thanks for this post.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Thanks, Judith. I just found your comment in my SPAM folder and retrieved it. You are NOT SPAM! 😉

16. jeanne - March 6, 2012

Nancy, I find that sometimes my interpretation of a poem, email or blog posting is influenced by my mood. Which is not always a good thing…maybe I should have one of those glasses of wine I saw mentioned in PiP’s comment.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

Definitely, Jeanne! Thoughts, feelings, and emotions influence how we perceive the world on a moment by moment basis.

All the more reason to strive to be happy. 😀

17. CMSmith - March 6, 2012

I thought I recognized that passage. Oh those were the days. I ‘m always amazed at what readers bring to the story.

nrhatch - March 6, 2012

I must have typed that sentence 100+ times in high school typing class. Our teacher loved to test our speed and accuracy by seeing how many times we could type it in a minute.

Ready . . . Set . . . Go!

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumps ov

TIME! STOP TYPING! Please hand in your papers.

18. jannatwrites - March 7, 2012

Reading poetry in high school English classes drove me nuts because we had to analyze it to death. I always wondered why a poem about a sunset couldn’t just be about a sunset. No, the setting sun would have to be a metaphor for the oppression of women; the sun being the male dominance, casting shadows over the landscape of women’s psyche’s, the darkness being society’s expectations stifling women’s creativity until the sun rose again and illuminated her plight.

Okay, I just made that garbage up, but the teachers would come up with some crazy stuff that I never could see 🙂

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

OMG . . . you sound EXACTLY like Mr. Ranta and his symbolic rollicks and rants which saw symbolism in every shadow and alter egos in every piece of lint. 🙄

Some people read more into a poem about a sunset than is there . . . perhaps because they don’t realize that a sunset, standing on its own, is ENOUGH to capture our attention.

19. Jas - March 7, 2012

very well said…

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

Thanks, Jas. We bring WHO we are to the table whenever we consume someone else’s writing . . . in the end, their words have our “stamp” all over them.

20. Team Oyeniyi - March 7, 2012

I have nothing to say about my writing yet – let’s see if I get published! 😆 Hopefully it isn’t gibberish. 🙂

I got my ideas from living though, so I’ll agree definitely with the last quotation.

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

I expect that your audience will take away vastly different messages from your writing . . . depending upon their backgrounds, Robyn. For some, it will be anecdotal. For others, it will be the exclamation point on their own battles to be free.

Team Oyeniyi - March 7, 2012

Thank you Nancy, for your kind words!

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

You’re welcome, Robyn.

21. Tilly Bud - March 7, 2012

Usually, I write in the hope of making people laugh.

My eyes sometimes glaze over the writing of others. I’m sure it happens sometimes when people read mine. That’s okay: we all have different tastes.

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

Exactly! What tickles my funny bone chakra may make your eyes glaze over.

And vice versa, of course. 🙄

22. sweetdaysundertheoaks - March 7, 2012

I just love to read and see where it takes me!

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

We get more out of life with that type of attitude, Pix. The more open our mind, our eyes, and out heart . . . the more receptive we can be to ALL the possibilities being offered.

We can take what we want . . . and leave the rest. 😀

sweetdaysundertheoaks - March 7, 2012

Nancy you just said what I couldn’t get out of my brain this morning and to my fingers to type! Especially the heart 🙂

nrhatch - March 7, 2012

Thanks, Pix! Life is a JOURNEY . . . not a destination, eh?

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