Originally Posted to Facebook 12/20/11
So I was talking to myself, as I often do, and I got to thinking (as I often do) about poetry. This time, my poetry, which led me to practice memorizing one of my poems.
I have a horrible time memorizing, so I really struggled through the poem (which I am saying aloud to myself, in public mind you) when I get to a series of beautifully structured lines. I usually am not impressed by my own writing, but in this moment, the beauty of those lines just resonated with me.
I thought to myself, “these are some really beautifully written lines. I wonder if people really notice them in this poem.” I’m pretty sure that the answer is no. Which led me to my next question… why write well if no one will take notice?
Sometimes the audience can get so drawn into the craft of performance, that the fine crafting of language gets lost. In fact, one could argue that when it comes to an open mic audience, the craft of performance is more important than good writing.
But this led me back to a question I have asked fairly often… who are you writing for? Dwayne, are you writing for a crowds approval? Is this all a grand show for attention, if so, then you can craft something quick and simple and be multi-platinum, why focus on trying to write well?
The answer lies within each of us. We tussle with this every time we choose the lingo of our next stanza. Is it more important for me to be artistic or receive crowd love? Sometimes it doesn’t blend as neatly as we would like.
There are many artist who have successfully found this balance, and many more who think they have. The truth is that artistic merit is in the eye of the audience. If your audience feels it is art, then it is. If your audience is yourself, then hopefully it is always art. And that is where I have chosen to start.
For me, I have answered the question of “why write well?” With the question “well, why write?” If I am not going to write well and represent myself well in my own eyes, then why be concerned with the views of another? It is more important to me that I feel what I write because I feel I wont move anyone with something that doesn’t move me. There will be no inspiration; the quake that shifts the heart would be missing. To me that is the most important thing; somebody has to feel, and the first person must be me.
I suggest that when you start asking yourself why write well, you answer that with “well, why write?” and see what inspiration you find within yourself.