Maybe it’s my two-decade long background in theatre performance that sometimes undermines my enjoyment of blogging.
As an actor, I’m used to certain conventions. You get on stage, the lights go up, and you give your part all you’ve got. Whether it’s spoken word or a monologue or being a character in a play, that’s what you do. And at the end, the audience applauds. It’s a convention – yes – and there are definite differences in the quality of applause from show to show. The quality of the applause is a language of its own. You can feel when people have been moved deeply, or when they’ve been thoroughly amused, or when they’ve ‘liked’ it, but not loved it. But I’ve never not received applause. And in that moment, you know you’ve been seen. Heard. It’s like a form of closure for the actor, the full-stop at the end of the play. Or perhaps one could look at as an exchange of energetic currency. Performance for applause.
Playwright Samuel Beckett explored this idea in many of his plays; that to exist was to be perceived by another. His characters are constantly asking each other:
“Can you see me?”
“Can you hear me?”
His plays explore the existential angst of searching for meaning of one’s existence.
Sometimes writing a blog post and publishing it, and seeing the statistics that indicate people are visiting, but not having any indication what people are responding to, liking or not liking, can feel like this.
It can feel like performing on a stage with bright lights in your eyes, and at the end, nobody applauds. The audience just gets up and leaves.
Maybe as a writer, I’m just not wired for blogging. Maybe I’m more of an exhibitionist than I think I am. Maybe that’s why I enjoy performing my work live so much. Or maybe I’m just ridiculously insecure.
When you submit work for specific submission calls, you (mostly) get a clear ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from the publisher. To me, even a ‘no’ in this instance is better than that metaphorical empty auditorium.
Hello. Is anybody out there?