Today’s prompt in the #500WordsEveryDay Challenge asked:
What questions, what problems, and what audience will you cultivate about you?
This prompt, in my eyes, is pretty vague and a little flawed. When I first read this prompt, I really didn’t know how to start writing about it. It’s still early in this writing challenge, and I’m not exactly sure how I would calculate who my audience is/will be. This, of course, would be different for every writer. For some writers I imagine that finding an audience is easy, as their writing is focused, topical, or themed. But for me, I haven’t targeted one style, one place where I will reign. I haven’t yet found my “niche market”. When I picture my writing on the page I don’t have an image of who is reading it. There’s no setting, no clues to what sort of person would chose my work. There is only a set of eyes focusing on every written word. I guess this could be a good sign for me because, at the end of the day, who isn’t my audience?
I’ve made an effort to be a writing chameleon. Poetry? Check. Short stories? Check. Songs? Check. Articles? Check. Not to say that I am outstanding at all of these types of writing, but I can confidently say that I have tried them all. I’ve had the most experience in writing poetry, and learned a few things about my style along the way. The first is that I enjoy poems with subjects that aren’t expected of poetry. Beauty, nature, love, heartbreak, war are all topics that I expect to read poems about. One of my favorite collections of poems is “The Big Smoke” by Adrian Matejka, which is written from the perspective of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion. The combination of love, boxing, history, racial tensions, and athleticism is a powerful one. Each poem told another section of Johnson’s lovers, bad reputation, his losses, his wins. The book was incredible intriguing. “Dead Wrestler Elegies” by W. Todd Kaneko has a similar effect in his writing about the wrestlers he once admired as a young observer. Both of these collections combine all of the “typical” themes of poetry and throw in some elements of sport and athleticism; this is what I love about contemporary poetry.
This is the kind of writing I love to do; the kind that is untraditional, the kind that the reader doesn’t quite expect, the kind that is real. Thinking about it now, it seems that this is the question my writing will pose to my unknown audience: how do we define poetry? Is it in beauty? In style? In format? In topic? I suppose my writing will aim to make a point to its readers. Is this what you thought it would be? A English professor once told me that there are two ways a reader finishes reading a piece of literature. The first: That’s exactly how I think/see the world! The second: I never thought of it that way. I’m aiming for that second one.