Author Ron Leighton – Readers are GODS !

Posted: November 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

A well-worn philosophical thought experiment asks, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, plain logic tells us such an event certainly creates sound waves. However, if there is no ear drum, human or otherwise, upon which those waves can pound, does the tree-falling event really happen?

Yet, while a tree falling in the forest may be said to happen without an observer, I would argue a book without a reader is suffering an existential crisis of the first order. Though a tree does not exist, nor does it fall, for the sake of an observer (though observing a tree is certainly a privilege), a book is incomplete until it has found at least one reader. Readers are to books what the ear is to music, the ass is to rhythm, and the eye to the DaVinci. Books are only a glory when their magic is allowed to flicker in the hearts and minds of readers. A book without a reader is an idea, as ephemeral as a ghost, or worse, a paper-weight.

Granted a reader, a book awakens and its story becomes flesh and bone, it is allowed to breathe! When a reader allows the first few words of a story into his heart, a character is aroused from her imposed slumber and she takes a quick breath and is glad, exultant to be alive. Her heart beats and the blood flows in her veins as the words unfold. A smile crosses her face and her eyes light up. She knows the curse of sleep has been broken. She rises and walks across the land. The reader whispers the prose to himself and a breeze winds through the trees as the sun warms the spreading earth.

And when the book is laid aside once more the character returns to sleep reluctantly, desperate in her netherworld until a reader picks up the thread of her story and lets her sun rise again.

The reader is the final, indispensable god in the creation of the story.

Learn more about Author Ron Leighton here –

  1. A very nicely written reminder on this Black Friday (& always)!

  2. jessiebincr says:

    Excellent piece. Readers are, indeed, gods to us wordsmiths. Sure, it’s great to write something that impresses you and that you’re proud of…but ultimately, unless you’re a “pure” artist, one who creates art for art’s sake, it’s pretty much useless t write a masterpiece without someone to read it. I’m honest enough to acknowledge the inherent egotism in what we writers do. We (hopefully) hone and polish our craft to make it marketable, palatable, appealing to the *readers*. I, personally, get a serious thrill when I know someone enjoys what I have written. I want my writing to create feelings in them, to conjure up worlds they’ve never been to but that still feel real, to sculpt characters that are individuals and that breathe on their own. When I get “fan mail” It makes me want to write more, and better, for them. I think if you have the audacity to ask someone to pay for the privilege of reading what you wrote, you’d better make pretty darn sure that it’s worth reading. It’s dangerous to anger the gods…if you commit hubris and disrespect them, they’re likely to take away their favor, and in our real world as authors, that means a lot off dollars and cents flushed down the tubes. Thanks again, great post!

  3. ronrex12 says:

    A great reiteration! Thank you. 🙂

  4. dagonsblood says:

    This is quite an analogy… and so very true!

  5. zencherry says:

    Why helllooooo Ron! I love this existentialistic viewpoint, but I would argue that a book written has been read by at least the author. 😉 I get it though, I do. Especially the hiney wiggling to rhythm part. 😀

    Excellent post Mr. Talented.

  6. Jeff Hansen says:

    Cool stuff, Ron. But does a tree make a sound if it falls in the backyard while everyone is inside listening to heavy metal?

    To address Jessie’s point, Herman Melville became discouraged when he lost his audience as his books became increasingly brilliant. In frustration, he actually dedicated his novel PIERRE to Greylock Mountain. (I kid you not. See article at .) When he died, BILLY BUDD—now considered a masterpiece—was a manuscript gathering mold in a drawer.

    So, is a genius brilliant even if nobody pays attention?

    • jessiebincr says:

      Hey Jeff, excellent input. I agree–genius exists, even when it’s not acknowledged by anyone else. My point was in the egotistical world of an author, the reader’s reaction is often almost as important as the satisfaction of the actual pride of creation itself, and it can actually be pivotal in the development of greater skill. If that wasn’t true, we wouldn’t bridle at bad reviews, especially those by people who didn’t even really seem to read the work! And such discouragement and indignation (evidenced by Melville’s dedication of a book to a mountain!) is often what spurs us to work harder at being better at the craft. It’s almost like saying, “Nyah nyah!” at the world. But again, great point. It’s unfortunate so many true geniuses fall by the wayside, when the masses are clamoring after…ahem…crap. 😉

    • Ron Leighton says:

      Regarding the tree: Well, no, not if everyone is listening to heavy metal music. Stands to reason. 🙂 But I get your point. I would argue there are stories itching to be realized by a reader while the heavy metal , or the rap, or the TV rattles on.

      I do think a writer can be a genius even if nobody pays attention. But a book, a story, requires a reader, I think, to reach its potential. I write to please my imagination first, but my stories and my characters ache to live in people’s hearts and minds. Is a beautiful work collecting dust in a closet the same as a beautiful work displayed for the world to see? No. I’m sure Melville would think so.

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