It all started out as a bit of a game. Splash some words on a screen and see what stranger in what country would add some colour to it. It was a nameless, faceless crowd and probably not a crowd at all. Then those names from the west coast and from the U.K. began to look familiar and friendly and a face or two in my imaginary crowd began to take some shape. Then some family members logged on, entirely out of pity and compassion and in my mind's eye the audience changed again. In time, we added a row or two of chairs to the blog auditorium as we like-minded bloggers discovered one another, checked out each others links, and lobbed opinions and encouragements back and forth.
Now I'm not entirely sure who is is my auditorium. I know of a number of faces though, and more important than that, my annonymous, mostly imaginary crowd has now taken on an entirely different dimension. Sometimes now when I think of squatting for a thought catharsis of a colonic proportion I have to contend with the rows of faces crowding into my locked stall. I prefer to bear down in privacy. Come on in after the sound of the flush and put up with the stink, but please give me a moment to myself.
Now that's where this analogy makes no sense. All this blogstipation and blogahrea is voluntary. I've got no stern lab-coated clinician pulling on a sterile glove to get things moving. (tired of the word pictures yet? I'm almost done....) I may be grossly overstating things here, but is this how a published author feels? I imagine that the first book is written when nobody cares, and author person is living on bruised bananas, all alone at home, typing away in long underwear. Then somebody wants to read it! Then they want more! But they are looking for something specific, something that got touched within them with the first, nearly accidental writing. Does the author go back to the bananas and sweaty undershirt and lose him/herself in the writing, or has the sanctuary of writing become a spectator sport of sorts? Is it possible to go back? Is it possible to not speak to the audience that one has become aware of? And if that is true, then is something of its uniqueness and usefulness lost to a sort of virtual self-consciousness?
Well, come on then. If you are in the audience, here's your chance. If you write, I want to know if you feel like your writing has changed since you've become more aware of your readers. If you read, I want to know why, and whether you've once read something and hoped that the conversation would eventually continue on, or whether it a daily ritual like peeing, or reading the funnies.
Then again, maybe none of you are real.