So, with a shit-ton of time on my hands right now (I began my mini-vacation this morning, but it has been filled with errands and other must-do things on my list), I have been reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” for perhaps the bajillionth time. Each time, I come away from it with a new idea, or find something that didn’t truly stick in my mind in the prior reading.
In this read through, I landed mentally on the section in which he talks about writing as a sort of telepathy between writer and reader. This idea intrigues me because I believe that such things are possible (telepathy and its related theories), all lumped under the title of “supernatural” in most people’s minds. And whether you “believe” that the supernatural is possible can influence your thoughts for or against.
It’s an interesting subject because many people believe in “intuition,” and the women of our culture are attributed with a larger share of it than men typically are. To me, intuition and telepathy are pretty much interchangeable, and reflect only degrees of a person’s ability. And yes, I also am a firm believer that *everyone* possesses degrees of these traits and manifests them, if at all, in their own ways. Those who don’t believe telepathy or intuition is possible and instead call such instances “coincidence,” tend to blind themselves willfully to that possibility. This is also perhaps why I gave up claiming myself as an atheist. I don’t believe in a god or gods, but the arrogant “certainty” that there is no such thing until science says it’s so seems a bit shortsighted. Until this week, science also believed that Earth was 60 million years younger that it appears to actually be. So to completely disregard the potential for such things to exist is a fool’s errand. I do, however, believe that religions are the demonizing factor in coercing others to proclaim their fealty to a specific set of “rules” that were written centuries ago. To be clear, every single religion on the planet believes in supernatural forces, but only those that someone, at some time, have declared true and if you didn’t also declare them true, would be killed. At the same time, religions eschew ghosts (of the haunting variety), spirits, vampires, werewolves, faeries, and the like because those concepts don’t conform to their religious views. This leads to such ridiculous statements as: I believe in (G)od, but I don’t believe in fairytales. But I digress…
Writers have an unspoken contract with their readers to tell a story, hopefully tell a GOOD story, and tell it well. Telling it well includes spelling and grammar and those things within which our common language functions best. This describes my impatience with self-published material. Too many writers ignore the basics, believing that the strength of their story will carry them through to success.
Au contraire, mon frer.
Telling an interesting and well-written story is crucial. Because in this way, you form both a mental and emotional connection with your reader, even though it’s likely that you have never met them in person. Would you agree, then, that this connection, formed across time and space, is telepathy? Let’s break it down…
Here’s how a dictionary defines telepathy:
—noun: communication between minds by some means other than sensory perception.
In my thinking, that sounds a lot like what takes place between a writer and reader.
Would it be fair to state that when you read a novel, you’re gaining a very specific glimpse into the writer’s mind at the time he or she wrote the novel? And if they’re capable writers, your reading brings you strong mental images of what is being described on the page.
The concept of telepathy is the ability to receive mental images regarding something you might previously have known nothing about. Words are energy, and they are capable of being transmitted into others’ minds. If that isn’t telepathy (and by extension, clairvoyance), I don’t know what is.
I find it interesting that King put it in such mundane terms, making it come across as a given, rather than a theory. As a fan of his writing, he often has rather interesting ideas about the concept of time, space, and how we as humans function within those parameters. Perhaps that’s also why he’s sold more books that pretty much any other writer on this planet.