I'm interested in how this community, as authors, will respond to these two questions. Here's the background that has come to this concept of reading a text (skip it if you get bored easily, though I'll keep it short, so for those of you "in the know" yeah, I'm leaving a WHOLE lot out). Let's start with structuralism/semiotics: there are deeper meanings in the text and the goal is to break down the sentences to get to the deeper meanings, then understand what is being communicated through them. There's a whole host of things that go along with that, but basically, a reader should get back to the author's time period and culture to understand the deeper meanings, yet the deep structures that carry them are also universal. Post structuralism/postmodernism (Not necessarily the same, but conflated enough for here). This is a reaction to the above. The words on a page are just symbols of a sign (a spoken word) that is trying to point to an experience or thought. Words and sentences thus don't carry meaning, except the meaning I bring to it. For that reason, all of language is thrown into free play (however you want to read the text is fine, because there is no meaning to the text). While that is somewhat out there (It's Derrida, what do you expect?), the main issue I'm wondering about in here, is what has become known as Reader-response criticism. In the extreme form, the author is dead (his/her intent, meaning, etc., has no bearing on the text). In it's lesser forms, it is recognized that the reader brings his/her universe and understanding to the text and engages it while the author has no control over what he or she has written. So, with that said (or skipped, if you decided to), do you believe that once you have written something, you have, should have, can have authority or control over how it is interpreted? Can you say, "that's not what that means?" Or, is the locus of authority for understanding a text completely in the mind of the reader who is bring his or her own understanding to the system of symbols on the page?