I regularly re-read what I write.
Once a day I re-read the most recent post on Writing Cabin. I freshly edit as I read, add a definite or indefinite article, delete a sentence or sometimes a whole paragraph, break up a longer sentence into two, even three shorter, less complicated sentences.
Generally I opt for greater clarity and simplicity in my editings of a text.
Occasionally, though, I am wary of simplicity. I make the choice to leave something subtle or nuanced or mysterious -- even at the risk of baffling present and future readers.
There is one future reader for whose reaction I know to be prepared. It is a reader who will inevitably understand better than I do now what I am busy trying to say, the mood or tone I am attempting to create in a given piece of writing. It is a reader whose opinion does matter to me but over whose reaction I have no control. I know (or think I know) that I can count on his good will, his interest, his insight -- and, maybe most importantly, his compassion.
I am that future reader.
I am writing things that he may be the only reader genuinely invested in decoding and deciphering a year from now.
On the threshold of another birthday, I read what I wrote about my birthdays in previous years.
At times I read and I am close to saying to that earlier John: "You have no idea."
At other times?
I admit to him: "Actually you do."