Audience of One

by Kevin Carrel Footer
6 December 2015

NEW YORK – My truest writings are the ones I write to myself.

As my reader, I am both stricter and more lenient than the real audience. I am quick to punish any lack of honesty if I pick up on something that doesn’t ring true in what I have put down. However, I am also quick to forgive a piece that is weak if it was striving for something beyond my reach. I know that a lot of my endings are inconclusive – but isn’t life itself “inconclusive,” endings always coming too soon or too late? My writings just mimic the ways of the greatest scriptwriter of them all.

When I write, I am writing to a future self. I know now, after a lifetime of putting pen to paper, that I cannot fairly judge something I wrote today. I must give it time and distance. Often I read something that I wrote in the past and I wouldn’t know it was mine except that it was signed by me or appeared published under my name. It has rightfully taken on a life of its own independent of mine.

If, having given up ownership, I read it and say, “Ah, that is nice” then I can be content.

But even if it is not so good, I am content. Writing is a therapeutic act. It is something done in the moment, for the moment. We need to get things out, release them, unfold them. Writing – like music and dance – are just the paths I follow to that release.

I love sharing my writings with others. I cherish the connection that grows between us when I can share my true thoughts with you. But the only way I know to do that is to begin by writing first to myself.

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