Your eyes are pressed up against a tiny aperture.
I guide the hole, carefully, to reveal to you only what I wish to show you, at the angle at which I want you to see it.
I open the aperture wider, to show you more. I close it down, to show you less. I shut the hole, to reposition, to prepare the scene, to rest.
So much happens beyond your field of view. So much happens when the aperture is closed.
But isn’t it tempting, natural, inevitable, to imagine what you see, what we see, is, in fact, reality? And not just a carefully chosen, consciously presented sliver?
The implications of this – for readers of a blog, for consumers of any narrative, for all of us – are huge. So much is omitted from the frame, consciously and unconsciously. So much is shaded, distorted, enhanced, concealed, by my pen, by your eyes, by my eyes.
It’s worth remembering this when you read. What do you imagine you’re reading? My diary? A novel? A memoir? And how does what you imagine you’re reading affect how you receive it, the meaning you attach to it?
In my interactions with blog readers by e-mail, one of the most frequent requests I’ve received over the years is, “Tell me something I couldn’t learn about you by reading your blog.” This question simultaneously acknowledges and disregards what I’m saying above, as if a one-to-one e-mail isn’t subject to all the limitations and characteristics described above.
What do you think you’re reading?