Well, of course, writing is one of those things where the customer is always right. If readers are reading the ‘wrong’ things into your work, you probably didn’t write them well. Or maybe they’re right. So, when I’m done furrowing my brow in confusion, I look back and try to see what they saw. Usually, I can’t, and then I just let it slide. It amuses me though, when what I think is subtle, delicate writing is ‘entertaining’ and ‘fun’, while some of the simplest pieces turn out to be multi-layered satires on modern life. We all have hidden depths, I guess. Even from ourselves.
What does it mean when readers see a lot more in your stories than you intended to put there? When a boy’s loving description of his mother is interpreted as a driving need to break free of her apron strings? When the subtle, dark, subtext you did put in is passed by completely? Or when a blunt statement about the misinterpretation of message is read as an indictment of all sacred writing?