Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Entry # 163 - "Who Will Read Your Work?"

Front Garden - Butterfly - Jan Bowman - 7/23/13

Tillie Olsen said, “Not to have an audience is a kind of death.” 

Francois Mauriac wrote that “Each of us is like a desert, and a literary work is like a cry from that desert…The point is: to be heard ---even if by one single person.”  That is why writers write.  But who will read your work? Even the most favored and famous of writers have a limited audience who love their work; for every fan, there are those who dislike a particular writer’s work, as well as those who do not know that it exists in spite of large scale publicity projects for a select few. And yet writers press on producing words on a page. So who do writers envision as they write?  Don Delillo said, “I don’t have a sense of a so-called ideal reader and certainly not of a readership, that terrific entity. I write for the page.”

Butterfly on Flower - Jan Bowman - July 23, 2013
We can hope what we write is valued by someone in the world. We do not write for everyone. If we do try to write for everyone, we end up writing for no one. First and foremost we write for ourselves. We write to say the truest, most powerful things we know and to put thoughts and feelings about life on the page. We write to help ourselves and others deal with the injustices of the world. We write to create order out of chaos, ever fearful that without order, the chaos might -  indeed - be meaningless. We write to calm our fears and to explore that which terrifies us. We write to understand and to be understood. I’m reminded that  Marianne Moore said, “Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.”

Anne Sexton wrote, “I write very personal poems but I hope that they will become the central theme to someone else’s private life.”

“And we can not ask for recognition…it’s not the artist’s place. All we can do is work with all our hearts. What happens is not our responsibility.”

--- Sophy Burnham from her book, For Writers Only.

More Butterflies - Jan Bowman - July 23, 2013
About Jan Bowman

Jan Bowman’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others. Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers. Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, her stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, a Pen/O’Henry award and a recent story was a finalist in the 2013 Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at www.janbowmanwriter.com or

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