On being read

Before I consciously decided to follow my dream of writing publicly as a concrete thing, I wrote primarily for me.  I wrote, as I mentioned to a friend recently, “… just to express, to emote, to get feelings out of me since I no longer had anyone even to listen to me, my dreams, my fears.  Instead of giving it to someone, I gave it to the world, let them share my thoughts, my perspective.  For a long time, no one read anything at all.  It simply satisfied a need that I have to be intimate…”

There is an oddity in that statement, intimacy sought among strangers.  Yet, it is a true statement about writing.  Writing can be more intimate than any other form of intimacy, in my view.  Words are retained, re-read, savored, allowed to become part of us.  I don’t have quite the same retention of things people say to me, unless I am terribly focused or if I take notes.  Sometimes though, I surprise my friends by hauling out things they’ve said in the past and re-injecting them into the current conversation.  It startles them.   Gestures, those stay with me, in a visual freeze-frame in my mind.  The way someone looked at a particular moment in time, the certainty with which they approached a task, hugs and physical touches.

When a writer writes, words that are not read can only sustain them for so long.  Frustration sets in.  For words read by others take on new life in the mind of each and every reader.  It is like our words travel where we are not able. We are now in your pocket, behind your ear, nestled behind shopping and to-do lists, buried inside of the framework that makes you,  you.  Then, once  you are being read, a writer wonders, “Did they get it?”  “Did they read it once, or, did they revisit?”  Most readers don’t, I believe, go back and trace a writer to their beginnings.  One can do that with a book series, start at the beginning, putting the pieces of the story together from inside of a mapped frame work.  As bloggers, we capture someone really only in a quick moment of time, perhaps by a well-turned phrase that delights the eye, or a sense of connection when an emotion lifts from the writing and moves into your soul, or perhaps even with a bit of helpful suggestion addressing a particular place where you are currently stuck, giving you a new perspective on things outside of our own narrow field of vision as individuals.  Or maybe just because we hit ‘Freshly Pressed’ at the right moment, under the interesting tag you peruse daily.  Blogging is a more interactive medium, and I don’t suppose writers who have books in libraries or bookstores have the same kind of sentiment in their heads when they think of ‘readers’.

I personally like going back through a blog, as I can watch that person move through life, determine their growth and their stumbling places, watch their skill improve and expand if it is a craft-related blog of artistic expression.  The writer takes shape in my mind.  Alas, we are now a culture of the sound byte, the Twitter feed, the Facebook timeline.  By our nature, expressive through words, writers do not fit into those constraints, unless we write powerful Haiku, marketing slogans, or encapsulated things.  We process now as a culture, so much information in so little time, that it really takes something to grab us.  We expect to be wowed, angered, shocked, experience some form of emotion that taps us on the shoulder.  But novels, poetry, essays – they don’t encapsulate well.  Yet, marketing our ‘wares’ is part and parcel of success as a writer.  It is, I believe, the entire reason that agents exist; because as a group, I think writers abhor promotion.  We simply want to write.  Preferably alone somewhere, sucking down lots of coffee, tea or maybe even an adult beverage or two.  I’ve watched from the onset, new bloggers grab more views in a week, than I garner over six months!  Most of it depends on…marketing. Sometimes it is the voice, but, usually, it is some form of marketing.   It is with some trepidation that I step into that realm.  But you have to know, know if the writing has value or not.  The romantic in all writers dreams “If I write it, they will read!”.  That’s akin to me thinking a partner will show up in my inbox (well, with internet dating, that IS a possiblity, but…).  Or that groceries will show up at my door without me even making a list.

As I embark on this new path of the writing journey, I’d like to thank the few of you that have followed me for more than a year.   Yes, I wrote for  nearly four years with nary a single follower.  I’m not easily frustrated 🙂 I stopped writing for a while too, out of…I’m not sure what. Surely not a lack of words or thoughts!   I would rather though, produce twice a week, things of value and weight, than to just appear in the reader like a scattered box of thumbtacks or buckshot.   I blog as practice for the projects I’m working on off-line.  I blog to improve my skills.  I blog to share emotional context, to discover what part of my writing resonates with others.  I often write in a very measured, pragmatic tone.  Over the last six months though, I discovered that those things that I write in which I unleash my emotions through my fingertips, touch the most people.  Because while we are captors of the sound byte medium, I believe we search for real depth, true connection,  authenticity -many of us.  We want things of import to ruminate on, to rattle around in our brains. At least, that is my hope.

Sometimes I think of my readers like this photograph that I captured last year by a river. Kind of  inertly standing as my river of words flow by 0_0

Reader inertia or sentinel guards ?

Reader inertia or sentinel guards ?

So your comments and yes, even criticisms, I am asking for, as I enter this new phase.  Feel free to comment publicly, or to E-mail your thoughts.  YES, I am asking for your interaction, feedback, a pulse.  And thank you for continuing on my journey with me!

And, a Haiku for the journey…

Door

An open door waits

Stepping through takes  a courage

Take that step with me

~SE

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  4 comments for “On being read

  1. June 14, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Nicely written…I, too, started writing as a way to express authenticity and emotion. I thought maybe a few people may read it (mom, church friends). There is a huge world out there just full of kindred spirits, each feeling alone while experiencing similar circumstances. I fill my childless days with blog reading and writing as my “self-care” activity. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. June 14, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Thank you. I think we, as writers, process things in that manner. Before blogging, who knew there were so many really good voices out there. stifled behind the queue of publishing gates? It is an amazing, and yes, kindred, world. I appreciate your feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Willy Nilly
    June 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    I enjoy your writing very much and look forward to more. Blog Away, We’re hungry for more 🙂

    Like

    • June 15, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Thank you…I’ll try to dish up more on a regular basis 🙂

      Like

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