Friday, November 11, 2016

Honoring the Audience

Today being Veterans Day, I'm thinking of some strong, pro-soldier pieces of writing that I like:  "Hero of War" performed by the band Rise Against and "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young," a poem by Wilfred Owen.  These, however, I would probably not perform or recite as part of a public Veteran's Day program despite the fact that they are deeply empathetic toward the sacrifices of soldiers.  If you want to look them up, you can (and give me your feedback about how well they would be received at a public honoring ceremony).  Suffice it to say writers should be mindful of the needs and expectations of the audience and the communication situation.

If we write only to satisfy ourselves, we may get lucky and serve  our readers collaterally.  If we write only to satisfy our audience, we may lose our sense of integrity.  If we write with no thought of pleasing anyone including ourselves, it will not be a surprise if no one is pleased. Every day of the year, what we write needs to work for two parties:  ourselves  and our audience.


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