Too many writers write for other people. They write for lovers or lost hope or for an unknown, future, audience they hope will like them — when they should really only be writing for themselves. Every writer is the core of their confounding world. We are the center of our Panopticonic lives.
If we write for others, then we are promised to fail in our written attempt to record the truth. There is no way to please the faceless mob.
We have no clue what the power majority will or will not like — and that’s why we are honor-bound to write what interests us and entertains us and enlightens us — and if we are able to score a financial or aesthetic windfall from other people liking our work, then we can accept the fact that others are as influenced by us as we are by ourselves.
Writing is an intimate process where secrets are revealed and truths are confessed. Not all writing must be public, but all writing must be made personal with the stakes of life and death.
Readers must always be able to find the “I” in the center of the storm. An invisible author is worse than a placebo pretending to cure cancer because the aftereffect will kill the reader’s eye faster than a joke can wean the infirm body.
Truth changes. True is elastic. Truth is variable and contextual. We write to pin down the truth as we know it in a certain time and space. We we know in this moment isn’t what we thought we knew it to be in the next. These variable recorded truths are then available for the memory, or the learning, of others who choose want to know what we knew at a specific point in our lifetime.
The mission of the writer is to continue to record the truth. If one stops thinking and recording what is known, then the truth immediately becomes immobile and stony and brittle and open to interpretation and change.
When an author ceases to write, truth is the greatest griever.
Writing must live within the author first, and then those thoughts are free to find purchase and, we always hope — resonance in — other minds through the shared process of unearthing unique and baffling truths of a remembered life.
Well writ, David. I write for me first and hope others will like it second. That seems to work out 🙂
Excellent, Gordon! That’s the only way we can survive.
Superb advice. Will to share with students.
Share away, Anne! Thanks!