As writers, we are artists. Not the kind of artists who perform directly in front of the audience, but artists nonetheless. We are called to expose ourselves through our words. To offer up emotions and events from our lives that we have perhaps kept hidden for many years. Sometimes even from ourselves. It can feel like quite a risk to share so openly, despite the fact that we may often sit behind our desks or screens, disconnected from others.We have something to learn from other artists who are out there relating with the audience, such as musician Amanda Palmer whose TED talk, “The Art of Asking,” recently went viral. She is a successful pioneer in a new era of crowd-funding. Through intimate connections with her audience, from online and after-show encounters to crowd-surfing and even couch-surfing (crashing) at fans’ homes, Amanda has found trust and fearlessness in relating to her audience. She describes the crowd and couch surfing experience: “…you’re falling into the audience and you’re trusting each other.” Trust. Such an important thing to have with an audience, when you are sharing yourself with them.
Amanda’s first encounters with “random closeness” came from acting as a living statue street performer. She says that for some of the individuals she encountered on the street, the eye contact shared as she would hand over one of her flowers seemed to hold a deep connection. To her, their eyes seemed to say, “Nobody ever sees me; Thank you.”
I like to think that we have the same goal as writers: to see people in a way they need to be seen. To uncover and reveal the human experience in an eye-opening way. The capturing and crafting of shared experiences brings us together with readers. We must remember that there is a purpose to revealing ourselves on the page. Even if we are not connecting directly at the moment the words are knitted into a story, our words are there to translate something meaningful to an audience. So that someone out there, while either reading or watching a scene unfold on screen, will experience that “Nobody ever sees me; Thank you.” moment.