Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Audience of One

Lately, I haven't felt terrifically inspired, and I wonder if this is just a phase I'm going through and if I'll pop back into inspiration again soon.  The best writing I have done for the last month is a personal letter that I wrote to someone over the weekend--an audience of one.  We had a disagreement.  I verbally knocked her about the head a few times, and after I got done kicking the crap out of her, she thanked me. 
And THAT, my friends, is what you call "good writing".
The thing is, it was good because it was personal--sure, I could have blogged it, and believe me, the temptation was definitely there...I do so love the crazy people, and she is freaking bug-nuts.  I actually planned to blog the entire thing, with detail, and back-story, and I'm sure it would have been a lot more entertaining that me talking about what a dumb weekend I had, but for some reason, I thought this person deserved enough of my sympathy not to be ridiculed as a public figure.  I'm not sure when I got so nice.  Instead, after I beat her into submission with words, I found myself doing that move, like Cameron, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, where he sort of pats himself on the back.  (That might be my favorite scene from that whole movie.)
For the last few years, this blog has, in fact, been written to an audience of one--a muse in the truest sense.  Literally every word was written with some one person in mind.  That a few others happened to check it out from time to time was a happy bonus.  "Audience of One" is actually a very old, and very effective little trick.  Imagine a person--one person--who gets all your jokes, likes the way your mind works, thinks you're cool, and, oh, they also think you're cute, and they want to sleep with you.  That's your audience.  Just one person. 
Sometimes, you are lucky enough to be able to attach those things to a real person.  Sometimes, it is someone you actually know!  If this is you, then, LUCKY YOU!!  For the rest of us, well, we don't actually know anybody who gets all our jokes AND wants to sleep with us--usually they either want to sleep with us and barely notice that we have anything to say, or, they think we're uproariously funny, but they love us like a sister and the not-so-sexy feeling is mutual.  While both of those things can be nice, if they're not combined into one swell package, the inspiration only comes in fits and spurts.  You hesitate, because you know that you can write something that your good friend will enjoy, but you also know that as soon as you throw in the sex joke, they'll get all uncomfortable. 
Meanwhile, the person who just wants to sleep with you reads it like this: "blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah *SEX JOKE* blah-blah-blah-blah-blah..."
I have come to the realization that a lot of people out there have gigantic gaps in their grown-up-ness.  They're either otherwise intelligent people who have the great misfortune of not being able to enjoy sex, or they are dumb as a box of rocks and sex is all they can talk about. The ones that can talk politics AND sweaty body-rubbing with equal enthusiasm, wisdom, and humor are so few and far between...usually, they can do one or the other really well, but not both. I gotta tell ya, though...the golden combo is pretty much the theme around here...thoughtful discussion peppered with wanton lust.  While most of the chatter takes place fully clothed, I do strive for that delicate balance, and try to leave vast expanses for the imagination to run wild.  Make the sex joke, what the hell do I care?  I believe that, as grown-ups, we've earned it.  We have the wisdom now, that we never had before.  We've seen some things.  We also like sex and drinking and stuff, and, we've been around long enough now so that we're really good at it (practice makes perfect), so, why not?
(Here's a weird example of what I am talking about...I was on Facebook last week, bitching about something, and a Fine Christian Woman chimed in to say, "you're just stressed out--you need a vacation".  Almost immediately thereafter, one of my best friends of the last 20-odd years, commented with "You're just stressed out--you need a vibrator."  Clearly, just joking around--and he knows me, so, he can do that.  At that point, my friend and I began joking about the finer points of sex toys, in a completely NON-graphic way, and the Fine Christian Woman excused herself from the conversation, which I thought was too bad.  I mean...she's married, and she's given birth, so she's probably had sex before.  Why so stressed out?)
Of course, "Audience of One" suggests a very special relationship--a love affair in it's newest stages, ripe with potential.  Everything is still perfect, and you don't annoy each other yet. I still have that ideal in my head, but it seems to be fading a bit, in these days where I'm discovering exactly what it is that I am supposed to be doing with my life.  It makes the most sense right now to just focus on my kids, and ignore my friends trying to set me up (really Sarah, I'm sure the older Russian gentleman who paid you $100 for your phone number at the casino is an interesting guy, but...).  At the same time, there is a lot more to me than "mother", and I know that in a few years, when my kids have left the house and moved on to their own thing, I don't want to look back on these days and feel like I cheated myself out of happiness that I could have been experiencing simultaneously while parenting.  In other words, I feel confident that I can handle it, but, don't really have anything to "handle", if you know what I mean...nothing getting me all that excited.
I hate it when my life is a yawner.  I refuse to be one of those people who talks about what time I got home after work, in relation to a discussion about traffic, because "my shows" were on and I didn't want to miss them, and I spent the evening doing what only really boring people do--mainly because I don't do those things!  I don't have any "shows" and don't run my life around a TV schedule!  I don't care about traffic!  I don't even care about what time I got home!  (Seriously, people have asked me what time I usually get home and I actually don't know--I get there when I get there.  Who cares?  Is my couch gonna be mad that I wasn't on time?  I don't even care if my cat gets fed before 10PM, and he bitches a lot more than the couch...)
It's not that I'd be sitting at my keyboard, talking about the specifics of what I did last night or anything, it's that having something in your life that is too intimate to share with everybody makes all the other things that you do seem a lot more interesting.  Colors are brighter when you're inspired.  Happy things are happier.  Every day is a beautiful day.  It would be nice if, at least for a little while, I didn't have to work so hard to convince myself that these things are true, regardless of whether or not I have an actual Audience of One with which to share them.


  1. So I must be the funny one who is smart enough to talk politics!

    I would avoid the Russian guy who buys phone numbers - but you still need to put yourself "out there". Says your friend who hasn't been "out there" in 20 years.

  2. Sooooo not interested in "out there..."

  3. I think it's a compliment to have someone offer you cash for your phone number--think about it this way...a hundred bucks for even just a slim chance that you might wanna get with him, or even give him your actual phone number for that matter. Kind of a big play on the part of the Russian...gotta admire that.

    I'd be more concerned with the fact that he was hanging out at the casino...


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