Today, during my lunchtime Netflix viewing, I watched a Hugh Laurie film called Mr. Pip.
It was a good film. I know this because it made me cry repeatedly, and as we all know this is the most accurate measure of a film’s quality.
Anyway, among being about a war, it was basically a story of a young girl, and how her introduction to a Dickens novel (Great Expectations) not only changed her life, but may have even saved her and given her a fuller, more nuanced lens to consider and examine the world. It helped her go from being a girl to being a woman.
Those of us who love literature have a book we can point at, not necessarily as our favorite, but as a book that changed our life, the way we look at it, the way we live it. For me, I’ve made no secret of this being Anna Karenina, but this film got me thinking.
There’s a mixed view in the community of writers on how much to consider the reader when writing. Obviously, when creating art, you have to just be a vessel for what is inside of you to be shared. On the other hand, if you’re trying to create work that will be published, you have to consider your audience and ask questions about theme and maturity level of the reader.
But what about creating life-changing work? Do we ask ourselves those kinds of questions, or is that something that happens through our art if we do our best and have a spark of luck?
Obviously, I don’t have answers for these questions, but they’re floating around my head nonetheless.