Friday, February 15, 2008

Reading Kafka

So I’m reading a collection of Kafka’s works, which is nice and all but horrendously frustrating. Almost all of his stories (he wrote both longer short stories and a bunch of flash fiction) were incomplete and unfinished and abandoned (as much as one can abandon flash fiction, I suppose).

In fact, he even asked that upon his death his literary executors destroy everything he had ever written. Thankfully, his wishes were mostly unheeded and his work was collected and published.

But this brings up an interesting feeling in me. When I think about the idea of writing and not even considering publishing (in fact, destroying the work) I’m aghast. Absolutely horrified. To me, there is nothing more wrong or more misguided.

I know it’s a personal philosophy kind of thing. Many writers write to write, but I couldn’t do that. I need the idea of an audience. I would not write if there was nobody to show it to. Without an audience, I would find another medium. I continue with the novels because I know that they’ll have an audience out there, just because I know they aren’t terrible and I know that some people would enjoy them. But not having people who have read them is a deterrent even now. Never having anyone read them would destroy my motivation.
I suppose it’s a difference in perception. The act of writing is private and lonely, but I don’t see any reason to keep it that way after the fact. I’d rather revel in what I’ve done, giving it to all who would take it. I’d rather stand up and talk about it and listen to people talk about it and put myself and my work forward to scrutiny and criticism. I need an audience. I need a receiver for my voice.

I suppose that’s the difference between the traditional reclusive writer like Kafka and a burgeoning literary rock star, such as myself. I don’t do it for fame, exactly, but I do it for the audience. I write for those who read it. Otherwise there’s no point for me. I’m very particular about what I write, sure, and I don’t pander, but … what I really want is people to read my writing.

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