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Personal. Political. Provocative. Add-Free

In the March issue of The Sun magazine, two readers’ letters jabbed each other on the Correspondence page. Both readers were responding to the same story in the December 2010 issue. The author of letter A was moved to tears by the entire issue, but especially by the short story, “The Immortal Zelensky” by Boomer Pinches. The letter raves that Pinches’ “fine use of telling details was…a graduate course in writing, without being the least bit didactic or contrived or self-conscious.”

Letter B followed. Its author proudly reports to having read every poem, essay, or short story in The Sun for eight years. This reader even marched through those entries that failed to resonate, simply because “if it was in The Sun, it had to have some intrinsic value (reasoning of which I am also guilty)”; HOWEVER, author B continues, “The Immortal Zelensky” was “so self-conscious, awkwardly written, rambling, and uninteresting” that it was completely without merit.

You’ve got to love it! Two devoted, well educated, and articulate readers take away completely opposite opinions regarding the same collection of words on a page. It happens all the time, particularly in this literary magazine, which tends to push at conventional boundaries.

This dichotomy excites me because it demonstrates how there is no “right” and no “wrong” in the murky sphere that is art, thought, and opinion. Each of us responds to stimuli differently. Our backgrounds, our locales, our life circumstances, our ages, our genders, and an entire spice rack of other elements shape us and thereby shape our responses to what we see and what we read and how we think.

This reality is freeing. Each person who stumbles upon my blog will react differently. Some will judge my words callow and shallow, which is fine because others will find them perplexing, and someone may actually find a few of my words moving or helpful. But they are my words, reflecting my thoughts. These thoughts are all that I truly own in this life. And you, dear readers—your thoughts are your own! We share equal opportunity thoughts, no one individual’s ideas any more or any less important than the next person’s.