I’ve been thinking a lot about readers and writers because Stone Reader, a film I co-produced almost 20 years ago now, will be available soon on streaming platforms such as vimeo, amazon, and other platforms that have become a fact of life for all of us who want to watch films. What does this film have to do with readers and writers you might ask? The simple answer is everything. The film encapsulates the relationships that a great book creates between readers and the writer.
That got me to thinking about this blog and my own relationships with readers. For over twenty years, I had a strong relationship with readers. Granted it was for my monthly articles and reviews, which required some level of creativity though not too much. The idea of a postmodern magazine article for a film industry trade magazine is something one of the editors I wrote for – Brian McKernan – might have accepted because he was a wonderful editor and loved the idea of pushing the boundaries though I doubt the readers would have found any joy in such a thing.
It is a privilege to have the attention of readers. The experience of connecting with people who are your readers often occurs purely by chance. I treasured the fact that I was one of writers who received a lot of responses — mailed letters and later emails — from readers to what I wrote. There’s also the fact that in April the National Association of Broadcasters convention, which is the world’s largest film and television equipment show, opens its doors to 100,000+ people who wander around the cavernous Las Vegas convention center for four to five days kicking tires and catching up with old friends. Walking miles and miles around those long concrete halls to see and ask tough questions about new equipment of the manufacturers at their booths for 20 years meant for me bumping into a lot of readers. A few recognized me from photographs but most heard me ask questions and saw the name on my badge and put two and two together. Readers would introduce themselves and we’d talk about what was on their minds because it was great research for what I might write about next.
That won’t happen with this blog. I could look at the statistics for how many people read this blog but I don’t want to know how few of you there are. This virtual place shall remain a repository for my thoughts — odd scrawls on a whiteboard — or perhaps a way to exercise my writing muscles.
It is the writer’s eternal question. If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it fall does it make a sound? There is movement of air. This small ripple in the atmosphere changes the direction of the wind imperceptibly. The landscape is altered with a gap in the canopy. Sunlight reaches down and touches anew the forest floor. If none witness what occurred does it happen in silence? It is the writer’s eternal question. If there are no readers do the words on the page exist?