Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Reader Is Me

Jen left a comment on "Writing about Writing" a few posts back that got me thinking:
What does it mean to say, "I write for myself"?

I've never stopped writing for myself. (I think maybe I implied I did?)
What that means changed, however. At some point, the act of writing in itself, the basic act of turning the awful confusion of experience into words, was no longer the main event. I began to write for myself as a reader.
I started to try to write things I would want to read.

I don't write for myself alone, of course, or else I wouldn't be blogging, eh?
Believe me, I spin around like a top when someone is interested in something I wrote. So there's a sort of selfish selflessness at work?
A trust that if I write with some care about something I care about, it might sometimes connect with someone, which is the best thing.

I made a kind of choice about this, a few years back. I realized at that time I could write affecting pieces about spiritual experiences, and that if I pursued that kind of writing, it might meet with general acclaim.
But I didn't want to.
(No need either. Anne Lamott and Co. have the quirky, brave spiritual essay well covered.)
No, I want to write stuff like how William Shatner shares a sensual bloom with Shelley Winters.
So I do. If anyone likes it, there's a delightful specificity to that liking.
One year after quitting writing for money, I'm not sure where I am as a writer; but I do quite often have the place to myself.

No comments: