Sometimes, Your Audience Simply Doesn’t Like It

I wrote a blog this week and was so satisfied with it. Unfortunately, my audience did not seem to share that view. Only the kindest of my followers stopped to comment, and only the most loyal stopped to vote. So I’m left to ask,”Should I have assessed the interests of my audience more accurately? Or was I correct in writing exactly what I planned to write?” I guess the answer to those questions depends on my reason for blogging in the first place.

This is actually a profound question, because it’s about more than writing. Do I answer to myself, or someone else when I set goals. Is there an ideal in my head when I start a project, or am I constantly testing the waters around me to see what others expect?

How do I live my life? Of course I don’t live in a bubble. Wouldn’t last long if I did that. But I also can’t live in a balloon that drifts about in response to the slightest breeze, the slightest suggestion of displeasure.

I’m going to share the essence of that unsuccessful blog here. I still like it, though perhaps I could have explained the theme better. Perhaps my message was too subtle. I’m very anti-war. I know, I know, there are probably times when everyone has to come to the defense of their particular group. But generally I believe war benefits a few and most who die and suffer don’t really know why that fate has befallen them.

The picture at the top of the page is a still from a GIF I created for the blog. This was part of a collage contest. If you’d like to see how that looks as a GIF, just click on the link and you will be connected to my Steemit blog.

Associated with the picture was a brief history of gunpowder and cannons–mostly gunpowder. I emphasized the toll these inventions have taken on life. But maybe I was too tongue-in-cheek.

If you read the blog, please let me know. How does it sit with you?

I would write the blog again, but perhaps put in some pictures of flowers and birds. People like that stuff. Maybe a few dogs and cats.

One thing I know for sure: never blame the audience. If I write for myself, then I should be happy that I please myself. And if I write for an audience, then I should always keep that audience in mind. A good writer, I guess, strikes a balance.

Ah, we’re back to life again. A well-lived life is a balanced life. That’s what they say, anyway.

The Blank Page

I just opened a new text file. The idea for a book has taken hold. The blank page invites me to express that idea. Oh, this is daunting. What writer has not faced that blank page with dread. And then I realize…that blank page is freedom. Nothing will be there unless I write it.

So, how to start a book without freezing at the prospect of creating something from nothing? Remember I have the freedom to do whatever I want with the page. There are no rules, except those I apply. No expectations, except my own. And failure? I am the only judge, because it is my page, my idea.

If I fail myself, my expectations, I can erase the page. So, why not start? Why not go forward on this adventure, which can lead anywhere I choose.

Poof! There goes writer’s block. You are welcome to borrow my self-talk, if it helps.

I’ll report back and let you know how things are going.

Literati Painting: A Synthesis of Art and Meditation

This is a digitally constructed collage. I put together pieces from different classic Chinese paintings and tried to mimic the style of a fourteen-century literati artist.

I’ve done research on China in the past, especially Chinese traditional art, and have written about it here and here. This week I decided to start writing a new book about China. I will use art as a reference point and bracket that reference between two centuries–the fourteenth and twentieth. And I will focus my attention on one city that just happens to straddle the Yangzte River: Chongqing.


Credit

It was Chongqing that became the last stronghold of the free Chinese in WWII (Second Sino-Japanese War). And it was there that fierce resistance by the Southern Song Dynasty held invading Mongols off for years.

Why art? Because in China, art has been a vessel for culture and tradition. Through conquest and revolution, art has endured. I find that to be especially true in the literati tradition.


A Word About the Picture at the Top of the Page

The picture was prompted by a contest on Steemit, which I enter every time it’s open. In the contest we are challenged by a fellow Steemian, @shaka, to make a collage from one of his photos. Rank amateurs (like me) and graphic artists participate. Sometimes a good idea prevails over skill…that gives me hope. However, I don’t enter to win. I enter to have fun.

Here’s @shaka’s photo, as it appeared before I made the collage:

Here are the elements that went into my collage:

[By the way, emulating, or even copying an artist is considered to be an homage, in the literati tradition]

The tree was extracted from this picture:

Wu Zhen Fishermen section.steemit 2,5x562,2cm._ca._1340._Freer.public.jpg

Fishermen, by Wu Zhen. China, fourteenth century. Public domain.


The meditating gentleman was extracted from this picture:

Ni_Zan_Portrait_Yuan2.jpg

Ni_Zan_Portrai_Yuan, unknown author. China, Yuan Dynasty (approximately fourteenth century). Public domain


The lotus flowers were extracted from this picture:

lotus.jpg


Pink and White Lotus, unknown artist. China, Yuan Dynasty. Public domain.


The birds were taken from this picture:

Loquats steemit and_Mountain_Bird anonymous public.jpg

Loquats and Mountain Bird, by anonymous. China, fourteenth century. Public domain.


The ducks, reeds and characters were taken from this picture:

Ducks_steemit and_Reeds_MET_47_18_19.jpg

Ducks and Reeds, by Lin Liang. China, fifteenth century. Public domain.


The hint of chrysanthemum was extracted from this picture:

chrysanthemum steemit public Xian'e_Changchun_Album_08.jpg

Xian’e Changchun Album 08, by Guiseppe Castilione. Between 1722-1725. Public domain.


If you’d like to see the blog that accompanied this collage, you can find it on Steemit. It’s called The Brain: Meditation, Flow and Literati Art.

I’ll try to post a new chapter for my book once a week. That’s going to be a challenge, but I might as well aim high 🙂