I’m sure nobody here has ever had that problem. Chances are, you all have hundreds of readers every day and no fits and seizures ever affect your bottom line. And that is awesome! Amazing! Impressive! Awe inspiring!
Yet, there are those of us who, for some reason, fail to resonate with more than a few people at a time. This leads to the question: What am I doing wrong? And there really doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to that. We do the best that we can, formulate our writing in such a way as to reach out to people around us, hope that maybe others will feel the same way that we do. But, inevitably, there are zero views, reads, hits, let alone shares. It’s almost as if people are only interested in the scandalous, the immediate, and the sensational more than they are in the emotional and the real. The immediate reactions other human beings have towards one another without it having to be meme worthy.
We struggle, we try, we hope and pray, we put ourselves out there, and yet, the old axiom seems to hold true time and time again: an artist gets no reverence until AFTER they’re gone.
This seems to hold true all throughout all the arts. If you’re talented, most people seem to pass you over. Unless you’re a Picasso, or a Beiber, or a Lady Gaga, and a JJ Abrams. If you’re any of a number of others struggling through the pits of the darkest alleys, nobody really gives you much more of an acclaim and attention beyond, ‘Don’t give up. You’re going to be great someday.’ And yet, does this really encourage anyone?
As an author, I write because I love the very idea of being a story teller. I remember the old Jim Henson Story Teller series. It was all about speaking to the hearts of the audience on old tales that might have fallen into obscurity. It was all about the ideal of filling a new generation’s imaginations with the lessons of the past. Yet, I wonder, how many remember that this series existed? Everything to do with the old fairy tales (Brothers Grimm included) seems nowadays to be Disneyfied and manipulated for the cold, heartless markets of the capitalistic endeavor. The very soul of the project, the intention, the need thrown out for the profit margin over time.
Once upon a time used to imply a romantic endeavor, or heroic venture, or deep lesson employed upon the youthful wants of hungry imaginations. Now, it is a cliche’ left alone to the far past. Ignored and laughed at for being too generic. Once, we had a thirst for good story telling even if the storyteller was not that great of a writer. Remember Edgar Rice Burroughs? Remember John Carter and Tarzan? Yeah, those stories are now too cliche’ in our new age to leave much to the imagination.
So what do you do when whatever you write is dismissed and tossed to the side as irrelevant, immaterial, and cliche’? Well, I suppose keep writing. One day, far in the future, it may be some prescient story that lays the foundation for society’s salvation. One that will be so profound that people are surprised that no one ever thought of it. Expect for you. A profit who saw into the future and delivered words of wisdom to live by.
Or, those stories told will just entertain the younglings and encourage them to become better, stronger storytellers in their own rights. You can’t make people read your work. You can only hope that they will. You can only hope that it will someday resonate with someone and your mark on the world won’t go unrewarded and unnoted.
We do the best that we can with the time that we’ve got. Sometimes it’s enough. Other times it is not. However, to be truly satisfied, sometimes we really just need to write for ourselves. Maybe later, others will want to come along for the ride and see just what kind of world our third eye showed us so long ago.
And then we’ll be remembered as the artists that we are. Funny, terrified, cynical, hopeful, disparaged, and needful all in one go. This is the way. So mote it be.
~Timothy S Purvis