AUTHOR OF THE MONTH

I'd Rather Be Listening II

by JAN NOTZON

JULY 2021

I find myself hesitant to expostulate the novels I have written. The primary reason is that, whichever one is considered, I would rather the reader tell me what he thought it is about I have a fear of prejudicing the reader to interpret it my way instead of his/her own. Nevertheless, in answer to the question, "What do you intend to convey with your writings?" I would say that we should understand the meaning of human life. I believe that if we understand humanity and our purpose in this world, then suffering and prejudice–the creations of unenlightened minds–will be overpowered.

 

I have written some novels whose themes were based upon a "search for self.” I've always believed that there is a subconscious element forming the ideas and concerns that go into a story, and that the reader is frequently better able to discern those sub- or preconscious thoughts than the author himself.

 

 

The first novel I wrote I call "Quiet Haven." Its story is based upon a man who goes to a lonely town at the foot of Mount Whitney to die, frustrated by the disruptive forces of people, and finds his search for peace there. The second novel I titled, "The Voice of the Earth" is themed on life on Earth and how it must be preserved for all life forms–including those generations yet to come after us.

 

Of course, I already know what I think the story is about, so it is much more interesting for me to hear what others think instead. It’s interesting how different interpretations can be applied to your work. As the creator, I’m the sender of the message, story, or idea. My main role is only to vivify the reader’s mind.

 

It’s interesting to find how a single thought transfers into its readers, or interpreters, through different thinking paths. There is a multitude of surprises to unravel, if you truly listen, from different types of readers.

 

The mystery is always there. That truly fascinates me.

 

I've always been a listener rather than a talker. This is why I simultaneously enjoy and find it supremely frustrating when I'm in a country and do not speak the language. Speaking two, English and Spanish, allows me a good deal of opportunity. When I went to Poland, the country from which my father's family emigrated, I sorely wished I spoke the language. To be able to speak, and especially listen, to others in their native language is a good part of the fun. Another one is traveling.

 

So, I hope those who have read my novels, my plays, my children's stories will tell me what they think the ideas expressed are. I actually crave such feedback. But I also know that if I had to state what they were, I would not have been able to express my ideas so well. These ideas are too deep for words.

 

Everything can be expressed in a book, given enough time and patience with the work, it is language itself that hides the thoughts from us. Yet, the very same element transposes ideas, and even emotions, to the readers.

 

Notwithstanding everything that has been said, I will do my best to talk about my book without influencing the reader.

 

Judging from my desk, a feather pen on my hand, and my wandering mind, it will be quite a challenge.