INTERPRETATION

One thing (of the dozen or so) that I’ve learned in my sixty-plus years is that when someone begins a conversation with “Welcome to the ‘real’ world….” I can pretty much ignore anything else that follows. The speaker is informing me that he/she knows this “real” world better than I do. In White Wolf Moon, Jenn (a journalism major) is discussing this subject with Evan (a sixty-plus ex-hippie-type). His reply was:

“Reality is perception. There is no all-encompassing real world, just how we interpret our corner of it. The real world for a millionaire sipping wine on a beach in St. Tropez isn’t the same real world of the starving child in Somalia.”

It’s merely interpretation isn’t it? Bear with me a quick mention of the wolf situation. According to Wildlife Services in Wyoming their ‘men on the ground’ (hunters) have noticed that the elk are getting tougher to find and hunt therefore, since the wolves are back, they are decimating the population. Armed with this “I seed it with my own eyes” type of fact-finding mentality the wolf hunt is on. 545 killed as of this writing. Without getting into a page long series of numbers…the elk population (according to Rocky Mountain Wildlife) is at 120,000 and is, in fact, 29 percent OVER the objective for healthy herd maintenance yet ‘the men on the ground’ claim the population has been “decimated” and wolves are throwing the balance of nature out of whack. Could the fact that (according to Wyoming Game & Fish) a record 26,385 elk were ‘harvested’ (what, we’re making bread out of them now?) by hunters last year has contributed to this supposed decimation and imbalance? Nah…can’t be because if it did then they wouldn’t be considering increasing the number of elk that harvesters could harvest this year. What I interpret this to mean is that Wildlife Services (see: oxymoron) needed yet another reason to hunt wolves…but I could be wrong. There is so, so much more I could write about this subject but I used this only to make another point.

Playback

Interpretation. A lady commented after reading White Wolf Moon that she was quite impressed with my use of Evan’s study as a metaphor for the state of the world and current political climates, especially in Canada. She felt that I had stated many strong points, without getting political or radical, and done it in a way that only those ‘in tune’ would appreciate.

Uh…what?

I was simply describing Evan’s room which, by more than coincidence, is very much like my little corner of the world. Don’t look for hidden meanings in White Wolf Moon because, aside from my planted song titles, artists, and pop culture references there really aren’t any. But the more I thought about her comment the more I liked it. Not necessarily from the interpretation she took but from the fact that she took it. She pulled something out of what I’d written that she identified with which really is no different than the countless comments people have made about knowing someone just like Evan or Marie. While I still don’t understand how she gleaned world conditions out of a description of a cluttered study I’m pleased that she did. She connected with what I’d done and really, isn’t that all we, as writers, want to accomplish?

I’ll leave you with something I wrote in my high school English class. This little line garnered high praise for insight from my instructor.

“It isn’t what the writer puts into the words; it’s what the reader takes out of them.”

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