So, this is fun:
Okay, so, the author no longer exists once the work is published and out there in the world -- to be read and interpreted.
Heck, even the writing of the book (which was seemingly an original act) is suspect because everything the author has ever read, seen, or experienced potentially informed the work, and it's merely a slap-dash combination of all these influences that produced it.
Furthermore, without the author there to walk each and every reader through the text (and probably even if the author WAS there to do it), the reading becomes a kind of attempt to decode its meaning...
But, of course, meaning isn't the meaning of the text, but rather whatever meaning the text offers the individual reader, what is memorable about the text to that reader, what the story becomes, the lessons that stick -- if even any!
And the process is every bit as ephemeral and individual for each and every reader...of each and every book! All of it filtered through our own perceptions (-aka- prejudices and predispositions)
So there you have it, writers and readers: none of it matters, and nothing is real!
Considering the current state of affairs, I find this all very comforting! It dovetails nicely with my "pale blue dot" philosophy/approach to living...which is to say most of what we do doesn't matter beyond whatever tiny little circle of folks we have, that everything we do has value only in the doing, and in the giving of it, rarely beyond that, and that chances are all human effort, save whatever space-junk we blast beyond our tiny galaxy, will eventually be devoured by the expanding, exploding sun...(if not by humanity before that!)...so...let's be as happy as we can, do our best to live lives we can be proud of, love as many people as well as we can, and do our level best to try not to worry too much!
Now go watch THIS, and laugh! And think.