On readers’ interpretation of fiction

by look i have opinions

“Any time you write a piece of fiction it will be interpreted in ways that you don’t intend. It’s difficult, it’s painful, but it’s part of the turf. I would never change my writing based on my advance projection of other people’s interpretations. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.”

—Mary Gaitskill in this College Crier interview, found via this

This is kind of impressive/mind-boggling because, really, how can you not change your writing based on your advance projection, etc.? Isn’t that practically the basis of communication, awareness of your audience? People like to say they write for themselves, but a lot of them are lying because they are understandably insecure about their need for attention, and Gaitskill doesn’t seem like the type to lie.