On Being Misunderstood

OwlWhether in writing or in speech, in life or in love, exposing one’s thoughts carries inherent risk. No matter how good one’s intentions might be, how genuine their efforts, how articulate their reasoning, there are times when they won’t be understood–whether because of some shortcoming on their part, or because the audience reads or listens with a prejudice that can’t be overcome. Sometimes people only hear what they want to.

To be misunderstood can be the writer’s punishment for having disturbed the reader’s peace. The greater the disturbance, the greater the possibility of misunderstanding. ~Anatole Broyard

I was thinking about this sort of feather-ruffling when I came across one of the Camp Stories I wrote for my daughter a few years ago. Click on the title to read “The Not-So-Wise Owl and the Case of the Missing Acorns” — a story about how a squirrel hears only what she wants to in the monosyllabic hoots of the owl.