With high-grade criticism and the detailed filtering of the written word, which has become such an important aspect of writing, and a serious consideration for the egos of those who write, we may have lost sight of exactly who the audience we are writing for is.
But before confirming who we are writing for or addressing, I think it is important to ask ourselves honestly about our motive to write in the first place. I consider that great Literature is written from a pure motivation, not to pursue a career or to make a mark. Some agnostic writers have even been driven to write to mark their very existence in the event of their plummeting into obscurity at their death. Surely it’s the process of writing that’s important, not only the end product, the material result of this process which is sellable or destructible.
Valid Literature shouldn’t be contaminated by such end-gaining. The motivation to write should be pure, and as we pour our spirits into the eloquence and nuances, we perform. Literature to me is like a wonderful performance of dance or music, with strong choreography and vocal quality. We perform on the page in our capacity as artists. In my own case, I write in the presence of a special witness in the form of a Protector who always ensures that I am being sincere, true to myself, that I am present and performing to my audience on the page. This prevents me from being kidnapped by my human ego, and indulging in vapidity and trivia, or merely showing off.
In the history of the art and sacredness of writing, there are superb anecdotes. A striking example of a propagator of the Buddhist teachings from 2,600 years ago passionately asserts:
I will peel of my skin to use as paper, draw my blood as ink, extract my marrow as water, and splinter my bone for use as a pen.
This demonstrates the perfections involved in performing for our readers on the page, or parchment or slate.
The symbols we use to express our essence have to be exquisitely arranged to transmit themselves clearly to those who take the trouble to read. But of course, the fascinating thing is that every reader who casts their eyes over such an arrangement, has a different mind, a different spirit, from yours. Some may be offended by what you write because you touch a raw nerve; others may suspend belief so hard that they cannot find your characters quite credible enough; still others might be sensitive to your perspective, your gender, your lack or choice of experience, what they perceive as your candour or your deceit.
But despite the millions of variables among your readers, writers do touch people’s heart and minds, and that is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. With the dawn of self-publishing and writing opportunities for all, I think we need to carefully check our motivation and the validity of what we write.
I know I can never write simply to impress or allure. My Protectors will always ensure that!