Who’s the Audience?

When I sit down to write a post, I have you in mind. Sure, my picture of you isn’t very clear — you’re an amorphous, all-gender, ageless, purple person to me. But your shimmering presence is out there (or in here, lodged in an area of the brain somewhere between my left ear and right eye), and it changes the way I write.

Because I have you as an active, alive reader whose act of  slowly swinging your eyeballs over my piece in mind, the tone of this blog is conversational, even in the more formal pieces. I address you, using the pronoun “you”, often, something markedly different from, say, my college essays. Yes, I know that there are souls who read my college essays too, but as they are doing their jobs when doing that, like I was doing my job in writing the essays, they don’t carry the same immediacy & familiarity for me that you, my blog readers, do.

You shouldn’t take from that last line that I creepily think of you as my best buds. In fact, you’re very different from any of my “flesh and blood” friends, i.e. friends who are not mediated by teasandbooks.wordpress.com. They have faces(!) and definite personalities when I think of any of them. Dr. B. is tall, white, and proud of his distinguished forehead. T. is a redhead, capable, and much too fun for somebody who’s so capable. P. is my peep, my fast-talking, who-knows-where-from-left-field-she-will-be-coming-from-this-time oldest peep. They’re friends that I call for medical “emergencies” (what’s this new mole I found?); friends that I cook with; friends that I share the messy (if boring) details of personal life.

You shouldn’t take from those last few lines that you’re not a friendly face to me. My unmediated friends are un-complicatedly my friends, but I would never stand in front of them and pontificate for 20 minutes about books that I’m reading, talk endlessly about what I think of the process of writing, pester for details in publishing, or presume an interest and permission to float all sorts of musings on libraries.

For those things, I have you. Maybe it’s just the difference between writing and verbal communication. Maybe it’s the effect of talking to a specific person versus writing for an amorphous reader. Maybe it’s not knowing you outside any comments you may choose to leave, but I am with you as I am not chattering on the phone about my mole. You exist, and so my blog isn’t my personal journal. You exist, and that, even if it does not change everything, changes enough.

PS. Should I ever get readers on this blog whom I will also know away from teasandbooks, please don’t give anybody we know in common the impression that I have an obscene number of moles. I don’t. Really!

PSS. Should I ever get any readers on this blog who are in a position to extend me a job offer, please know that I have exactly the number of moles that the job calls for. And that I’m a very serious, able person.

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7 Responses to Who’s the Audience?

  1. Sherbil says:

    Symmetrically enough, your image, in my mind’s eye, is very equivocal. I perfectly know you are a – not in the least purple – female who reads books, drinks tea and aspires to become a librarian. But that’s as far as it goes in the realms of the concrete.

    It is true that I know a lot more about you than vice versa, but what I know is only what you choose to show me (us).

    The not so slight difference though, is that when I open the browser, check my RSS feeder and click on your post title, I do it on purpose. I choose to do it. Why I wonder. I can stop doing it (not that I want to).

    So we’re perfect strangers, a writer and a reader, in a one-way, intentioned, hazy relationship.

    • teasandbooks says:

      Hello!

      I’ve always wanted to be perfect at something, and I guess “stranger” is really not bad, as far as perfection goes. Speaking of choosing what one shows to the world, however, I wonder if I’ve just watched too many thriller/crime/mystery movie, where the detective cracks the supposedly perfect crime by a slip of the tongue on the of the criminal, or read too many accounts of people recording their thoughts & deeds on the web for which they dearly regret later. In any case, I feel the selection and presentation of the self is often not intentional, rarely seamless with the actual self, and certainly not perfect.

      • Sherbil says:

        Well, I happen to disagree with you. I don’t know if it’s just me (I had the impression it wasn’t) but whenever I choose to speak, write, dress; express myself, I do it differently in accordance to, most importantly, the people who are listening, reading or seeing me, and to the context.

        It may not be a conscious and thoroughly planned adjustment, as it happens as I do it, yet, it is an adjustment. And it alters my image altogether.

        PS. I truly enjoy reading your blog.

    • teasandbooks says:

      PS. Thanks for reading!

  2. Esa says:

    I have been called many things in my life, but amorphous and purple are new ones, 🙂
    I just don’t have the time to browse enough blogs, but from what I’ve seen they are each very unique. Its not like browsing in a bookstore and being drawn to authors and genres, it’s like walking along a street in an unfamiliar city, and finding somthing new and exciting down a side alley. Do you think the fact that we don’t “know ” our audience, is what enables us to pontificate as we do. If I could see the reaction of every one of my readers, it could scare me off from writing another word.

    As for your moles, maybe you could play connect the dots. With washable ink of course.

    • teasandbooks says:

      Esa!

      Did you know that you’re, by far, my most prolific commenter? Just wanted to say thanks!

      As to your question, yes, anonymity must be part of the “magic” of blogging. This is one of the traits I admire the most about published writers, who know that their stuff will eventually be marketed for and read by others, but to create as if that’s not the case. I think some writers have compared that dichotomy to undressing in a town square while retaining the manner, intimacy, and comfort of one’s private bedroom.

      PS. If you’d rather not be purple, I can attempt to change my mental image of you. What color would you prefer? I hear that blue is all the range after “Avatar” hit the screen.

      • Esa says:

        You’re welcome, and I wear the mantle proudly.

        When I comment, it is usually when something comes to mind immediately upon reading a post. Occasionally it takes a few reads, only because something keeps tickling in my brain about the post.

        Even fiction writers are ultimately writing about themselves, but blogs can be more revealing about a persons beliefs and feelings, though they are cloaked in alternative garb. I have been a tad personal on my blog, and have had the odd nervous moment about it, but it just feels like it wants to come out.

        Blue is nice too, though aren’t Smurfs that color. And I’ve never seen Avatar.

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