I have yet to explicate here the theory I developed after reading John Cage’s lectures: that reading a published text to oneself is a performance that can never be replicated because the environment is continually acting upon the reader, thus influencing the reader’s experience of the text in that moment…. Well, now I have. That’s basically the theory. I’ll give you some examples from my own life later.
The point is, I just had a very ironic experience of said theory. I was sitting at my work computer during my lunch break, reading an essay about Language Poetry (or, writing in “Open Forms”). The argument goes that Open Forms invite readers to create the meaning of the text along with the author. The author ceases to be an absolute authority in the making of meaning. Personally, I love this idea, even though some people shirk at “experimental” art, calling it the most elitist of all forms. But initially hard to understand in a traditional way isn’t the same as elitist.
Anyway, here I am reading about how to write in ways that don’t constrict readers, and in walks a woman who wants me to hang some posters for her festival. She says, “Ok, how many posters do you guys want?” I say, “I think two would be enough.” “Well,” she tells me, “you usually take three, two for the door and one for somewhere else.” “Well,” I reply, “I guess we’ll take three!”
I couldn’t help laughing to myself. She asked the most closed question possible! The universe is snickering.