For the sake of brevity, to-day let’s refer to writers, visual artists, musicians etc, as Performers. An essential consideration for every performer has to be the Audience—the reader, the listener, the patron of visual arts, etc. The Performer understands that a critical element of the creation is the Audience. What will the Audience take in, understand, appreciate? If I do this, what will they think, how will they react, and is it what I want?
The questions go on. You, the audience, make a vital contribution to what the Performers do—in fact, you make it possible for Performers to do what they do.
So let’s talk about you, dear Reader.
Most probably, I don’t know you as an individual, although I’d like to. While I may not know you individually, I do know something about you.
I know you’ve travelled a long time and a great distance to get here, to sit and read these words. I know the road between Birth and To-day has been difficult and yet surprising. Sometimes it’s seemed easy or simple, and sometimes those appearances have been deceptive. It’s been hard, it’s been wearisome, and yet you’ve had the strength to get here, and that’s pretty wonderful.
I know you’ve made choices that have seemed right at the time, and turned out to be utterly disastrous, leaving you to feel ugly, stupid, and foolish. You’ve felt flawed, which makes you like every other person on the Earth. I know you’ve also made choices that demonstrated wit, wisdom, insight, and were full of compassion and selflessness—choices that may have hurt you and required immense courage, but you saw them through despite everything, and someone else was blessed.
There are people you like or love who don’t want you, and that’s sad. If they were to let you in, they would find a real treasure in their midst. There are people who like and love you, who think you’re the greatest thing to ever happen, and who profoundly treasure you. They may not be able to tell you—to express such deep feeling requires a degree of courage, and carries with it a profound sense of vulnerability, both of which can be overwhelming. Perhaps it’s enough just to know they are there, somewhere.
I know there have been times you have felt alone in a crowd, and times when even your thoughts have made life seem crowded and invaded. There have been times when you’ve been sad or angry for what seems like far too long, and there have been times of happiness, even bliss, that seemed to end too soon. There has been sorrow and loss, and also joy and triumph. It’s been problematic to find a balance between these extremes, and yet, here you are.
They say ‘you have to take the bad with the good’ (I’d like to find the person who first said it and punch him on the nose.) Things have happened in your life that were just plain wrong. Things that left you weeping long after you ran out of tears. Instances of betrayal, brutality, cruelty, and acts without compassion. I am sorrier than I can say that those things happened to you. I hope you won’t fall back on that adage ‘what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.’ In my experience, people who can’t deal with those brutalities say that to hide the hurt they still feel, and to pretend ‘it’s all good.’ There is no interpretation of evil that justifies or excuses it.
I’d venture a guess, though, that because of those evil events, you reached out to others and touched their lives in ways you don’t recognize and they will never forget. You’ll do your very best not to allow those events to be repeated, and to make a better world—at least, your piece of the world. That’s beautiful.
Yes, I know these things about you. You are a paradox–flawed perfection. So, you are perfect to be part of my audience. You’re a person I want to reach out to. I rarely find out what you think, but perhaps it’s enough just to know that you’re there.
In the end, it comes to this:
I need you.