Writing For An Audience Of You
Writing solely for one’s self is one extreme of a spectrum and is testosterone to the seductive myth of the toiling undiscovered genius. This is destined only for (a few) some but we all can’t be Van Gogh. I would aver that most of the greatest art in history was created with an audience, greater than one person, in mind: Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel; Rembrandt for his patrons; Shakespeare wrote for the people; Dickens serialised his novels in newspapers for the masses; the great tragedians of old, Sophocles and Euripides, wrote for the demos; the Impressionists came to public attention when they launched their own exhibition; Citizen Kane was made for an audience of 1+; it was for and to others that Astaire danced and Bessie sung (sang?) etc etc; and the greatest epic poem ever, The Iliad, was crafted and perfected by generations of poets over centuries in front of listening audiences before Homer wrote it down in his own breathtaking style.
Great artists and artistes put something of themselves into their works – that’s the part that can’t come from anyone else and is what makes their works unique. But what makes those works great is … only if I knew. JK Rowling may, supposedly, have written The Casual Vacancy for herself but even she, after the incredible success of the first Harry Potter novel, must have kept those millions of reading kids in mind as she spun out her tale to seven installments. It is therapeutic to just write and it is both healing and emancipatory to write for one’s self and from one’s own core; but it’s so orgasmic to connect to another human.