After I wrote the post yesterday I was reading in Stephen King's ON WRITING. I came to a part where he describes a table covered with a red cloth. On the cloth is a cage holding a rabbit. On the rabbit's back is the number 8 in blue ink. Then he says
"Do we see the same thing? We'd have to get together and compare notes to make absolutely sure but I think we do. There will be necessary variations, of course: some receivers will see a cloth which is turkey red, some will see one that's scarlet....Decorative souls may add a little lace, and welcome--my tablecloth is your tablecloth, knock yourself out."
I love how casual he is about it. He then goes on to say those details don't really matter and the important thing is the 8 on the rabbits back. And everyone will see that, no matter what their tablecloth looks like. So as long as we get the big stuff right, the important things, we shouldn't sweat whether the reader sees the exact same farm we do. My mother and I share a favorite book and we often have discussions about it. Quite often our perceptions and imaginings are similar. Sometimes they are widely different. That doesn't detract from either of our enjoyment.
King then goes on to say speaking of himself and us as the reader,
"We're not even in the same year together, let alone the same room...except we are together. We're close.
We're having a meeting of the minds."
I loved this because it showed how we CAN meet over time and space. Not everyone will form a connection with the book or me as an author but for the ones who do it will be amazing.