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comment by _refugee_

Art often is about/driven by self-expression and I agree that this should be among a young (or even old) artist's driving forces to create. However, it's foolish to think that art and self-expression can exist in a vacuum without an audience and that be totally fulfilling. If you only share your self-expression with yourself, it can feel kind of masturbatory.

It's not satisfying to create art that just collects dust afterwards. Maybe Dada would put on a ballet show for an audience of no one but we should acknowledge that art, from writing to dance including everything in between, almost universally relies upon an audience as much as a creator. What can you really effectively express if you only express it to yourself? Art is a conversation and writing is and wants to be part of that conversation.

I see a lot of the time that "you should write just for you!" and yes you should do that but that aphorism also puts this idea into heads that "you shouldn't want or need an audience to feel good about what you create," which I think falls a little far from the truth. I write great poems that I love but once I write them, I also want to share them with people. And it's natural and understandable to have that desire and feel irritated when the literary structure/canon/environment in which you write is never going to embrace you -- I still write, sure, and I find people to share things with -- it shouldn't ever stop someone from creating -- but tell you what it sure can do is knock the wind out of your sails a little.




user-inactivated  ·  547 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I agree. Mostly. I think in the case of ArtemusBlank though, who has complained quite a few times about the slam scene this past year, that maybe he oughta try something new for a bit. Maybe rediscover why he fell in love with poetry in the first place. Sometimes you just gotta let go of the world and be you, if even for only a little bit.

cW  ·  537 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I feel like the best rationale for "writing for the audience that is yourself" is to write that which compels you, in order to make sure you're speaking valuably to all those people more or less identical to yourself (which, statistically speaking, in a world so well populated, is a whole lotta people), and to all of the other types of people engaged in meaningful conversation with those people (which is actually a staggeringly large group of people). None of those people (except yourself) may be in the room with you, or perhaps even in your county. But they are most assuredly out there, in serious numbers. And one is much more likely to have deep, richly nuanced layers of meaning and intensity in expression for that audience than they are for the one that happens to be three tables over at the coffee shop.

Also, if you don't write (at least largely) for yourself, then you will likely have forsaken your inner compass, which probably has a great deal to do with why you started writing in the first place. I'm not going to pretend it's the only guide of value (I've heard Yanni doesn't listen to others' music, so as not to pollute the purity of vision), but ignoring it entirely is, in my opinion, a hollow and baffling experience.