Some well-known and well-respected authors claim that we should not write for an audience, only for ourselves. Others, equally respected, have stated quite the opposite and feel we should have an ideal audience in mind, even if it is only one person. Given these two contradictory viewpoints, I would assume it doesn’t matter much.
But I myself tend toward the write-for-the-audience view. I am telling stories and I want them heard. I have before mentioned the metaphor of the storyteller, seated in the marketplace, with his circle of listeners. This is still my idea of what and who I am — or want to be. I am crafting tales (and this includes the poems and songs) that are meant to be not only heard but also understood.
Easily understood? Not necessarily. If things were easy to understand, there would be no point to any of the arts. Our role is to help our audience see the difficult a little more clearly, to add another brightly-colored tile to the mosaic.
For we do not see reality. We see a picture of reality, a construct of metaphor. It’s the old blind men and the elephant bit. The elephant IS all the things those gropers in darkness thought him; each metaphor they created helped them to further comprehend ‘elephant.’ No one can ever completely understand that creature or anything else.
So we help them along as best we may, giving our audience a rope or a tree or whatever is needed to better understand their own elephants. And if we help ourselves in the process, well, that’s all the better.
Stephen Brooke ©2016