The Meaning We Make
Today, in my writing class, we discussed the rhetorical triangle:
It got me to thinking about this fledgling blog, because we were discussing the fact that a writer creates text with their audience in mind, either consciously or subconsciously. Strange, I guess, because for the first time, I don’t really know my audience. Some of you are my friends and family, but many of you I don’t know very well, and there are still perhaps more people reading whom I’ve never been acquainted with in real life or online.
As one person pointed out in discussion, once you release text out into the world, it’s no longer only yours. The meaning made by it is now as much in the hands of the audience as it is on the page or in the writer’s mind. That lack of control is simultaneously freeing and paralyzing, especially when you’re writing primarily about yourself. It is no longer only how I perceive myself and the life I live, but the perceptions of every one else, their own connotations and experiences and interpretations.
I have always had a very large internal struggle with pleasing others. I hate it when someone doesn’t like me, even when I don’t care for them at all. This is terribly ironic, because I have also grown to realize and acknowledge that I have an abrasive personality and am not at all chalked up to be liked universally. In a way, keeping this blog is a good way for me to release myself from that pressure to be likable, because I realize, if I hope to reach an audience of any noteworthy size, such a thing is an impossibility.
Anyway, it’s my hope that I can come to terms with the fact that people may hate me, think I am boring, or talentless or stupid or ugly or whatever pejorative they like, and that it doesn’t need to feel like the end of the world. I don’t even have to know about it! I can always turn the comments off if I decide I don’t want to give anyone license to tell me I suck.