The Subjectivity of Art

Over the years I’ve been in this writing life, I’ve thought often about the subjectivity of art, specifically of the written word. But never more so than when my first book hit the shelves. 

Here’s the thing: As readers, we realize that some books we connect with, others we don’t. Some books that move others to tears, we toss aside. Others that critics ignore, we cherish as meaningful and worthwhile. So why, as writers, do we expect any different variant of responses from the readers of our work? 

I am so very grateful for the many positive reviews for Wings of a Dream. But every now and then a comment will rankle. It will poke at my heart, causing an outburst of explanation or indignation to my inanimate computer screen. But as I mutter my displeasure, I suddenly recall a book I couldn’t finish–one that one garnered awards and has many admirers. Or a book that was well written but simply didn’t interest me. I didn’t connect with the story, though many others did. 

I appreciate the Lord’s constant reminder of this truth: that He created each of us with a unique combination of personality, likes and dislikes, and experiences that all simmer together and result in a point of view no other person has exactly. So the art that spills out of my uniqueness may not speak to yours. And that’s okay. Because my work will speak to someone. And someone else’s work will speak to you. And if we all admired exactly the same thing, wouldn’t the beauty that is art be dimmed somehow?

In the past two months, I’ve decided I’d rather endure the occasional misunderstanding or dislike than surrender the diversity of our creativity. After all, we serve a multi-faceted  God, each of us responding in greater or lesser degrees to different aspects of His character. If it doesn’t bother Him that we don’t walk in lock-step in our relationship with Him, why should it bother us that we don’t all walk in uniformity with each other? 

I do hope you enjoy Wings of a Dream and all my other books. But if you don’t, please know it is okay. I can give you grace to appreciate the art that moves you, even if it isn’t mine.