I fancy myself a writer. If you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, recording your thoughts, dreams and stories, then you are indeed a writer, so I fulfill that functionary prerequisite. I started thinking about this from the perspective of the reader. Who do I write for? I mean, I write stuff that is interesting to me and that I would like to read, but if I really was just writing for myself, there is no reason to write it down at all. I can just think about it. I must be writing to share with someone. Who? Who is my audience?
I read some author’s work, and I’m amazed at their prose. Some read quite purple and flowery, and some are immaculate and intense. Still others are so refined, it’s evident that I am not their intended audience, but I marvel at the literary quality. Whom are they writing for?
I’ve heard writing referred to as weaving a tapestry of words. If that is true, then I don’t think I make tapestries. I think I make t-shirts with amusing slogans on them like ‘Who Farted?’ Or ‘I’m with stupid’ with an arrow pointing up. I’m fine with that. There is quite a market for amusing t-shirts, after all.
So there it is. I’m writing for the every man. I’m writing stories that I hope appeal to the average person, who does average things in an average way. I suppose that makes my writing average as well. I don’t think that means I am settling for less, as I don’t aspire to write things that have limited appeal or may be flawless but dull. I want to have characters the reader identifies with, and above all, I want to tell a good story that has a satisfying conclusion. I hope that I get a laugh occasionally, too.
The one exception is my journal, which I am writing for one person. It’s a leather bound book with lined, acid-free paper, and what I write here is only for my son. I started the journal when the adoption process began. I wrote in it several times a day as we trekked across Ukraine, going from orphanage to orphanage until we finally found him. I drew pictures and maps, and I told my son what I was thinking about him before I had even met him. I still write in it, but now it is more like once or twice every year. Still, I write in it, and it’s important that I don’t forget. When he turns eighteen years old, I will break the seal on the Ukrainian vodka I brought home in 2001, have a drink with my son and I will give him this journal. He will read it for the first time.
Maybe that is really who I write for.