It is hard to have a blog in which I assume people want to read what I have to write. It is quite narcissistic of me to shout into the void and think people will care what words I have to share. For then the void is not a void but a crowd that listens with opinions and talks back. Sometimes I wish it was just a void. But that’s what the blank pages of the many journals I have in my house prove: I cannot write to a void; I can only write to be heard. Those who judge and disagree with me give me reason to continue to write. And those who empathize and feel connected to me give me reasons to continue to write from the heart.
I know that what I write impacts people, in both good and bad ways, because I receive messages from friends, perceived enemies, and strangers who insist I have connected to them in some way. The messages are always a surprise because I don’t know who is listening. There are avid readers I have never met and there are lurkers who will never reach out. My readers span seventy countries, SEVENTY! That astounds me. So how narcissistic am I to think people want to hear what I have to say? It seems people do want to listen.
I know I give a voice to thoughts and struggles that others have, others who are without an outlet to express themselves with. I know I have sparked introspection and soul searching with readers because of the rawness of what I have shared and contemplated in this forum. I know this most especially because I am also a reader, an avid reader of non-fiction and fiction alike, and it is through others’ stories where I find my voice. My thoughts are made complex by the people I exchange stories with, the perspectives I gather, and the stories I see in text and in life. Where one may see narcissism, others see vulnerability and connection.
But aren’t writers narcissistic anyway? We know we have all of the right words to incite sadness and rage or happiness and love. Of course we are narcissistic. But we are self-critical narcissists. Through fiction or fact, we feel deeply, and share ourselves deeply with our true stories wrapped up and hidden in plain sight in our fictional stories. I am part of a writer’s group where it is known as bad manners to ever ask if a story is true, because we know deep down how much our own stories are real. One can simply listen to a story and know which parts are true if one only listens to the stories made in one’s own mind. We have all built worlds to escape our nightmares and fantasies by placing them in plain textual sight. Of course we are narcissistic. We have earned that right through displaying our faults and our successes as one, even if people are not paying attention to the truth in the fiction. We show the whole, and we are consumed. We doubt the whole, and we are still praised.
So thank you, readers kind and readers ranting. Thank you for consuming me whole.