The only work really worth doing- the only work you can do convincingly- is the work that focuses on the things you care about. (Art and Fear, Bayle & Orlando, 1993, p.116)
Staring at the screen tonight. Thinking of all sorts of things I would love to write about, things I care about. Yesterday I was having a conversation with a close friend and the subject of my blog audience came up. Ah, this is what happens when you just start free flow writing. You start at point a and end up at q with a quickness....
I've been free here with my thoughts and ideas. I honestly don't track who reads my blog unless someone subscribes to it or leaves a comment. That's the nature of the beast. I guess I could get technical and start zoning in on my logistics and get geeky, but I don't want to. I know many of the artists I've worked with read the blog, some local people, my family... beyond that, I just don't think too much about it. I just write. And when people write back, I like it. That's it.
My writing is one of my art forms. This blog is a publication of short essays, and those writings and musings of mine that relate to TLGUTS and my own creative ventures and personal realizations. I have it listed under TLGUTS, because I see TLGUTS as my artistic outlet. It's all the same ball of yarn to me. If I write about my work, it's because my work is my life, my life is my work.
Back to the discussion about audience. Audience is always a critical component to artistic works. There's audience development, audience maintenance, audience participation, audience growth, audience feedback, and all sorts of considerations of audience when it comes to the arts. I think my friend was considering a key component of my audience in our conversation. My friend thought I should write with more consideration for a certain subset of my audience and think about how they perceived my blog.
I don't consider individuals when I write unless I am writing about them, like my recent musings about my grandfather. I write with a broad stroke. I write toward an idea, toward a tone, toward a feeling, and want whoever is reading the work to catch that feeling as well. Ultimately though, for most artists, sharing finished works is an ultimate goal.
When I create artistic programming or curate shows, I create with a storyteller's mind. What's the beginning, middle and end? What are the rich details and important supporting subplots that mixed together make the event or exhibition savory? I define the elements and qualities of the work that make the work worth sharing. Then I find ways to execute. There is always consideration that the work will be shared with an audience when I am programming, but audience development is not always the end goal of my writing. With my writing, I try to achieve audience maintenance through authenticity. That's it.
I do try to please myself because I can be pretty hard to please. If it passes my own test, it goes in. If not, it becomes one of the hundred or so unpublished blog pieces or exhibition ideas no one ever sees or hears about. Maybe this one will join the list. Who knows.
What I do know, is that I do not edit my art work out of fear that it may make people perceive me in a certain light. What I do not do, is edit the subject matter of my writing to appease other people at the expense of my own authenticity. I also do not ever write to intentionally be cruel or hurtful. Mostly, I try to inspire people to get out from whatever is holding them back from taking the next step towards being better than what they are today, and to get more people out here with me living out-loud. Most of the time, that is what I am doing myself.
So if you've come here looking for a word or two about someone living a creative life on their life on their own terms... welcome. You are my audience.
If we start limiting ourselves creatively to exclusively fit into an agenda or a limited audience, at the expense of doing what we love, we are boxing ourselves in. Who can live like that? Do what you love to do; write about what makes you tick. Create with the idea in mind. Put it out into the world. You will find an audience. Live authentically. Create authentically. Do it again and again and again. Just don't stop. And don't edit yourself into that box.
Suggested reading: Toni Morrison, The Big Box.