Here’s Magdelanye’s book club in Sechelt where I was a guest last week. In addition to compliments they gave me about enjoying my novel, one of the readers had found something within that resonated with her – something no one else had noticed. Although the novel has been out for almost six months, although I have 45 pages of articulate and detailed reviews, no one had discovered yet what she discovered.
As a playwright and performer on tour, I noticed that this happened with my work. In the question and answer period after the final curtain, audiences would share their discovered links, connections and questions within the work that I had not been aware of myself. Sharing the work in community opened it up to the many layers of complexity that had filtered through their experience of it.
Whenever I’m invited to speak at a book club, I disclose that I wrote A THEORY OF EXPANDED LOVE to answer an important question for myself. Then I ask the readers if they can guess the question. No one has yet to discover, themselves, the question that drove me to write the book. I tell them it’s not an obvious question, but once they know what it is, they will see it everywhere.
The best part of this exercise: Every one of their answers seems to address another aspect of the story. The aspect that resonates with them.
People bring their lives to your work. This is why I write. It’s exhilarating to share deeply with others. To create something that someone just gets. They get it. It’s something I long for – to be connected across age, class, gender, culture and even spiritual beliefs. It’s a moment of profound connection in the universe.
One reader sent my book to her sister who hadn’t spoken to her for years. Here’s what she sent after reading
A THEORY OF EXPANDED LOVE
At West Van Park Royal Indigo store I met this young girl. She’s 11. We hung out a bit at the Meet & Greet the Author. She’s a reader and wanted to read my book right away. I told her she could read it when she turns 12. Then her dad came along. I asked her name. “Lily” she said. I had a moment. Lily! Whenever I read from THEORY this is the chapter I read. It’s my favorite. It’s called Lily. And here was Lily. In person. As it were. She had that energy. That young person energy that you just want to be around.
From an upcoming Vancouver Sun interview: The protagonist of A Theory of Expanded Love is a 12 year old girl. Can you speak to why, as readers, we can often identify with youths or children as protagonists, regardless of our own age?