An Audience Of One
When I got out of bed this morning, I knew exactly what I wanted to write. So, I made a cup of coffee, fed the dog and put her out to do “her business.” (She generally gets up with me, and we have our routines, both solo and as an early-morning duo.)
Then, I opened the computer and sat down to write what was on my mind. Then, a strange thing happened. About 500 words into it, I decided that I wasn’t going to share it with anyone.
Not today, anyway.
That doesn’t often happen; an instance when I write something that I intend to share but then think. “Nah, not today.” But after the piece in question started traveling a path I hadn’t planned, it turned into something I felt needed to go into a drawer for now, living in the shadows, exercising its right to privacy, for my eyes only.
And now, here I sit, having already done the heavy lifting of writing my weekly piece with nothing to show for it; at least, not to show you. That’s OK because while I love to share what I write, and in equal measure, I love when folks comment on my writings (because then I know someone is reading them), I’m sure your Monday isn’t going to change much whether I’ve put something out to the world or not. (It shouldn’t, anyway.)
The thing is, that piece I’m not going to share with you today will likely change my Monday because as I wrote it, and then read it after it was complete, it made me think about things, but mostly, it made me think about myself.
And as I read through it, I also found the exact spot where it transformed from a piece to share with others into something I needed to hold closely. Because if I didn’t, it would immediately lose much of its significance to the most important audience I have.
Recently, someone I’ve known for most of my life emailed me. He’s been going through a rough time, nothing tragic just challenging and uncomfortable. With nothing but time on his hands as he recuperates from major surgery, he shared with me how much he’s been thinking, reflecting and recalling memories from his life as he watches the days and hours slowly tick by.
In his message to me, he said he could identify with my desire to write and communicate stories from my life, as he was having trouble keeping up with all the thoughts racing through his head as he sat at home, waiting for his life to “re-open.”
All I can say is that I hope he has taken time to record some of his thoughts and memories because documenting our stories has immense intrinsic value, even if we never share them with anyone else.
It’s like that first piece I drafted this morning, the one you won’t find no matter where you look. (Though in today’s world, I guess I should assume someone is tracking my keystrokes, right?)
All that matters is that I know it’s there, and it’s doing its job by inspiring, motivating and affecting its audience of one: me.
I don’t like to give advice unless it’s requested, but I would like to encourage you – at a time when resolutions have been ignited and many of us are looking for a spark of inspiration or positive “juju” – to sit down at your computer or with pen and paper and start jotting down your thoughts: no apologies, no rules, no excuses.
It could be 10 words or a thousand. It doesn’t matter. What matters is why and for whom you’re doing it, and that is: for an audience of one.
Give it a try. Who knows? Maybe you’ll want to share some of your stories someday. Stranger things have happened.
Happy 2021 everyone. I hope every day brings better things for you … and for us all.
© 2021 David R. Haznaw