Shifting meanings

I attended the Star Trek convention last year, and supported the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, which was created to encourage development of automatic non-invasive health diagnostics. And there, we were given these pin buttons, which had cool quotes. But when Leonard Nimoy passed away recently, I picked up the button and its meaning changed for me. It was no longer fun, as it is now true, Jim. He is dead.

): RIP #Spock #LeonardNimoy You will definitely be remembered for a long time.

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It made me wonder if – when the quote was chosen – the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize copywriters or marketers had thought about what it would mean when Spock (Nimoy) is dead. Of course, I know that Nimoy isn’t always Spock (Quinto’s very much in those pointy ears now), but the inherent linkage between actor and character will always be there, especially so for such a prolific character. The condolence messages are still pouring into the internet.

What do you think of the shifting meanings in what you write? Or what you read?

As a writer, I’ve long accepted that what I write will have lives of its own, and that it would be impossible for me to know of, or control, all of the interpretations of it. However, I still would like to be able to anticipate interpretations where possible, as a form of ‘risk management’. Perhaps that’s just being ridiculous, or perhaps it is less of an issue for different genres, or types of writings. Perhaps that is what is beautiful about writing – its shifting meanings.