Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Writer Worries About Her Audience

I've never liked to impose. If  I'm invited for dinner at the home of friends, I try to leave before they start yawning or, God forbid, before they have to ask me to go. If my car breaks down or I need a ride to the airport, I'd rather take a taxi than ask a friend for a lift. So naturally, I'm worried about imposing a frequent blog on you, my loyal readers.

A writer's relationship with her audience is a strange and delicate one. When I first started writing poetry, just after I graduated from college, I wrote only for myself. The poems were a release and a way to work through feelings of anxiety and confusion. They were raw and revealing. The last thing I wanted was for anyone else to read them. But gradually, as I began to craft the poems more carefully, I took pride in transforming pathos into art, and I began to want an audience.

The feeling that I might actually show my work to others inevitably changed the writing, in some ways for the better, but something was also lost—a lack of inhibition, a pure expression of my soul. When writing, I still allow my deepest feelings to bubble up from my subconscious, but then my internal editor takes over and I begin to temper them, camouflage them, and occasionally edit them out altogether. Not that I would ever lie. I merely soften the truth so as not to shock or offend.

But I still love the process of writing, the pure joy of letting words flow directly from my subconscious onto the page. I find that the more regularly I write, the more able I am to access my deeper thoughts and feelings. When I write every day, I see the world a little differently. It's filled with more wonder, more joy, more pain, more possibility. That's why I've decided to attempt frequent blog entries. Still, I know it's a lot to expect you to read them all.

Yet, I love sharing my work. When something I've written evokes an emotion, an association, or a remembered experience, that means the world to me. Sharing my blog has become a wonderful way for me to reach out. I love to read your comments and learn the ways in which my concerns mesh or conflict with yours.

So I'll continue to post these blog entries. Obviously, feel free to ignore them. The last thing I want to do is impose.


  1. So in the Buddhist perspective there is not a separation between writer and reader. When the writer shares they are opening their smaller mind to their bigger mind (all things). Maybe we "impose" when we don't realize that we are writing to something of which we are a part?

  2. It is such an interesting issue in public blogging—how frank to be. If you speak only in generalities, you produce pretty dull stuff, but if you speak specifically, you risk betraying others' privacy. The tension between the two impulses—exposure and privacy—is a challenge. And I'm totally loving the increased frequency of your output. You're a wonderful writer, a joy to read.

  3. I would encourage you to not feel any responsibility for what people do or don't read. That's up to are doing your part by putting it out there. As with any art, I think the person creating it is the priority -- you need to do it for yourself and if others enjoy it it's an extra bonus (count me in as one of the bonuses :-) )
    PS My Mom would like to be added to your email list.

  4. Keep writing!