Why I Hate My Audience – Written February 3, 2003

Almost two months ago, I found myself writing a piece very similar to this one. At the time, I was frustrated with the mixed vibes that I was receiving about my writings, and decided to write about how I just wanted to get my ideas out and “enlighten” people. Recently, a work of mine made its way to the public eye, and has managed (as widely-read pieces have a tendency to do) to take on a very negative life of its own. It took this situation to make me realize that my first piece was incomplete.

I do not write for you. I do not write for your friends, your esteems, your pleasures. I am not writing to be cool; I will not stop writing because you think I am not. Writing is not a hobby for me – not some shallow conglomeration of statements – writing is respiration.

I was told a few weeks ago that I take beautiful words and “twist them into tools of evil.” The girl that said it, once the biggest fan of my writing, was very upset with me at the time and will probably hate me forever. It may seem strange to put this situation into a piece dedicated to justifying my writing, so you will just have to trust me as far at the logistics.

Even though everyone told me the girl was crazy, even though she had to write such a deadly blow in an E-mail instead of telling me straight, even though I really did not care what she had to say, I was crushed by what she said. For someone to say that to me was as if they were saying that I was evil. So imagine the comedy, if you will, of the scene of the blocked writer staring blankly, desiring to write but not knowing if he should.

So I wrote an essay about a girl. It wasn’t really about a girl, it was really about me, but of course the peons that read pulp never see it that way. And I took some flack for that (actually, I am taking flack for that, as it was just days prior), including people calling me on the phone and harassing me. Eminem once asked, “How much damage can I do with a pen?” My writing is like a wrecking ball. People will take five random things that I write and by the end will be saying either, “You have no idea what you are talking about,” or “That was so much information I need a minute to take it all in.” For a person to walk away from something I write and not be somehow affected is virtually impossible.

I am not one to whine, but for those of you that criticize, think how easy it is to be critical, and how hard it is to deal with criticism. To steal my own words, “Finding one’s literary identity is difficult when being called a prophet by one person and a heretic by another.” It is even harder when that person is the same person. But this is what I do – it is what I am!

I write. I take your criticism and condemnation and write more for you so you can tear it all down again. My audience has become my antagonist; I no longer care about what you take away from what I say. I am going to say what I want to say, I will write what I write, and none of you will ever tell me what to do.

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