Many moons ago, back while I was studying at Kent University, I read ‘The Death of the Author’ by Roland Barthes for one of my critical theory classes. It was a seriously annoying essay and caused many a heated discussion in class. I will save you the pain and summarise his point:
Don’t take the author (their lives and experiences) into consideration when you are reading a book. Your understanding of the text should purely come from your own experiences.
When I am reading, I am lost in the story (hopefully) and I don’t think much about the author. On the other hand, if I was to study a story then I would. I would think about why the story might have been constructed in that way and why the author made the choices they did.
Now in the age of Twitter (yes kids I do remember a time before Twitter – how shockingly old that must make me *cough cough* 33 *cough cough*) I think about the author as I am reading. Not in an analytical way, but in a “this woman is awesome and I must tell her and the world about her immediately” sort of way. I only use woman because it has yet to happen to me with a male author.
And yesterday that is what I did:
And then this morning, with equally good gif game, I got a reply from the author of my current read:
Now, other than being freaked out that Alex is wearing a summer dress in her profile picture (I assumed she lived at the North Pole), I was amazed that Alex had taken the time to reply. Thanks Alex, I appreciate it 🙂
To be able to follow authors and interact with them like this is wonderful. It shrinks the gap between us. It proves that they are people rather than mystical figures, and that with some hard work and a bit of luck I could be one too.