-Does a story need to have a point?
-Does a story need to have a message?
-Does a story need to do something to the reader?
-Is it okay if a story affects the author more than the reader?
-Or is that selfish?
-In fact, if the author writes a story that is primarily reflexive, does the author have any business publishing the story?
-If the author is trying to communicate a message, is it bad if the reader picks up on a different message?
-Does that mean the author has failed?
-Or does it mean the reader has failed?
-Should the author eschew conscious message-sending?
-Should the reader avoid message-searching? (N.b.--this might be an exercise in futility.)
-What happens if the author does not intend to send a message, but the reader comes up with one anyway?
-Can the reader take credit for that?
-Should the author be given credit?
-Is such a message, organic and unintended as it might be, a valid message?
FOR THE RECORD:
I keep saying "message". I suppose I should translate that.
I refer to anything from a moral ("one good turn deserves another")
to a theme ("the futility of silent love")
to a call to arms ("don't tase me, bro").
"Message" is the thrust of the art. Whatever that thrust may be.
-If the author intends to send a message, and readers are unclear on what exactly that message is, should the author clarify?
-Is the message what's important?
-Or is it the process of discovering the message?
-Should art entertain?
-Or should art educate?
I don't know. Seriously, honestly, I don't know.
What do you think?
(Long live reflection.)