"A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. Only then can he accept wonders." —John Steinbeck(The Winter of Our Discontent)
I’ve had this quote posted someplace in my office for over twenty years. It reminds me that once I write a story, the interpretation of it is out of my hands. And that’s not only okay, it makes storytelling a layered collaboration between the writer and the reader.