Yesterday, was about the good silence.
There is a bad silence, too. The silence of waiting for the reader to come.
Not speaking about me, this time…although I am. I am speaking about a dear new friend—and all the friends unmet—who write and wait. She, and they, and I all share a common ache: the knowledge that, despite every bit of passion and effort that one brings to the work, despite every outside effort, the readership is still at arm’s length.
I know that feeling. I’ve lived that feeling. I’ll bet that the multitudinous majority of those of us who write—whether in long form, short stories, blogs, music, plays, poetry—do, too.
I knew that feeling at the publication of my first book when, flushed by the joy of having been published at all, I waited for the world to beat down my door. It didn’t.
Today, we see some stirrings. We see responses that are stronger and more positive than one might have hoped. But the critical mass? Not yet. The commanding recognition? So far, just the sound of crickets in the dark.
Where are those folks, those readers. Among acquaintances, three varieties reveal themselves. There are those who are completely disinterested, who could care less if you dropped off the planet. Sadly, among that number are folks with whom you share the workday. A shockingly disappointing situation. There are those who seem to care…to care enough about you personally and respect your work enough to make you expect more interest than ever actually materializes. They speak their support, but do nothing to demonstrate it. None of these folks will ever really understand the pain. That’s just the fact of it.
Then, there are those who support what you do…who make the actual effort to step up and find you, to react, to comment. Some of those friends are friends you haven’t seen in years. Some are friends you’ve never met. All are people who seem to understand what all this craziness means to you. And they know that you will offer that same support back to them.
To my friend who has been looking straight into the hard eyes of the realities we deal with every day, and who still finds a place for hope…to every one of you who has ever been tempted to ask “who do I have to f**k to be heard?”…to you who go hopefull to your blog-stats counter a dozen time a day, with renewed hope each time…to each writer who cherishes in his/her soul the hope that the special, exquisite, incomparable enterprise that is creativity will, one day, rise to the eye…even if I’ve never met you…my enduring love.
We are one another.