I get a strange pleasure from making readers cry. Or ponder, or fear, or laugh, if that be the case.As long as that was the intention of whatever it was I wrote that made them cry, laugh, or etc.

Sometimes they get mad because I’ve killed a likable character unexpectedly. I can empathize. I was so pissed at Larry McMurtry when Gus died in Lonesome Dove that I stopped reading it for awhile before eventually finishing it.

On occasion, I’ve been told by someone who’s read one of my books that such-and-such part made them tear-up. I respond with a nod and a sympathetic smile. But on the inside I’m: Yes! That’s the reaction I was hoping for! Awesome! Thank you! Kind of like when Garp (Robin Williams) cheers as Helen (Mary Beth Hurt) cries after reading one of his sad short stories in the 1982 adaptation of Irving’s The World According to Garp.

I did some acting in college. Having the audience laugh or gasp when they were supposed to was as great an adrenalin rush as you can imagine; it’s a real high to experience that immediate, intended response. But, there’s a huge disconnect between the writer and the reader. Unless I’m sitting right next to you as you read a book of mine (which would be creepy for the both of us), I have no idea if I succeeded in my literary efforts, if I’ve made a reader think or feel something, anything. I’m in the dark until a review is posted somewhere, or I’m messaged, or I happen to meet you in person. All of which, so far, is rare.

Writing is lonely work, almost to the point of solitary confinement. That’s usually okay for us misanthropic types, but sometimes I need to connect with other humans, somehow. So, feel free to comment on these posts. Message me via Facebook or Twitter. Or email me directly. Posting a review is especially helpful. (Without reviewers letting me know how bad the original cover of my first book was, I might never have changed it.)

Just know, if you contact me and share how something I wrote affected you emotionally, I may snicker joyfully to myself.

Gordon Gravley