To Prospective Readers (first letter)

Perhaps these not sent letters are a list of things you should try to avoid. The last item is always: Don’t read what you know.
This idea might induce panic for two reasons. Firstly, we are encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, for as long as we can remember, to read what we know, so the prospect of abandoning that approach is disorienting (starting, perhaps, with basic language comprehension). Secondly, we can believe we know an awful lot.
While writing recent not sent letters, I have imagined readers as veterans, professional athletes, a minister, a circus clown, a woman with a pet miniature elephant, and gobs of certified geniuses. They are endlessly interesting people, their lives brimming with uniquely compelling experiences, and I imagine that too often they have believed those experiences are what equip them to be readers.
Encouraging people not to read what they know can cause confusion and discomfort, but for me, it’s a choice between life and death.