For a writer, sharing words is not an unusual experience. Until, that is, a writer is asked to speak about his words. If you want to see a rapid transformation from author to deer in the headlights, just ask this question:
“What’s your book about?”
How to answer such a question has been the conundrum of many a creative individual. Writers spend an inordinate amount of their waking hours surrounded by words. Their primary objective is the communication of ideas– through words. Logic might lead one to believe that any brilliant communicator of the written word must be an equally adept orator. And so, when the author stumbles in his response, it incites a general loss of confidence from the audience in his or her abilities. How can someone have spent so much time on a project and have no idea how to answer the simplest of questions?
Speaking for tongue-tied authors everywhere, I think the answer may be that we sometimes know our work too well. It would be a little like asking someone what air is. (I know that sounds lame, but just hear me out…) You know what air is. You spend every day surrounded by it. It just is. The best answer is, “Go outside, breathe it, and find out for yourself.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising then, when the author, upon being asked about a book, responds, “Read it, and see for yourself!”