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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who Needs an Audience?

     I confessed to a writer/editor/thinker friend that I was a tad jealous of The Pioneer Woman, whose best-selling books grew out of her charming, beautiful, funny, touching blog. I love her work, and I don't begrudge her success, but I do envy it. I mean, what am I, chopped liver? Then I told my pastor's wife how I was thinking, and she asked, "Why do you need a world-wide audience? We're your audience." Good question. I've been mulling it over for days and proposing it to others. Why do writers, musicians, artists and even athletes and other "performers" want the attention and approval of strangers?
     Here's as far as I've got with the question. First, attention and praise from friends doesn't quite fulfill because it's like having your mother tell you how wonderful you are. People who already love you and have been through years of life with you are predisposed to like your work. Having your work received and approved by people who have no stake in your life is a different level of affirmation.
     Much trickier and even less coherently formed is an idea that's connected with our being made in the image of God. Nehemiah 9: 5, 6 called us to worship this morning. It says we owe God praise because He has made every marvelous thing in the universe, from the stars to the starfish. He gives life to the creatures and sustains that life. Look at all He has made, "read" it, and give Him two thumbs up. So here we are, made in the image of God. We are able to think up our creations and place them in the world. If they are good, they deserve to be looked at and appreciated and their creator given credit. Of course, the fly in that ointment is that we sinners can't invent or project anything perfect, and our motivations are never pure. Our creations may not be as good as we think they are. We may crave praise or fame for their own sake and forget that we're supposed to be making something good.
     At any rate, that's what I want to do: create something good and have it recognized for its own sake. As a small-c creator, I crave that pronouncement: "this is very good."

4 comments:

  1. Oo, oo, I have three followers. Two are related to me, and one has been and will be my friend forever. Each of them made me smile.

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  2. Is it better when a total stranger thinks you're wonderful or someone who has known you for years and years? Hmmmmm?

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  3. I certainly didn't mean to devalue the appreciation of friends. It's more the work than it is me. Like if I look at your crochet and think, "Ceil made this. I love it," I'm judging in part by my fondness for you. But if you win a blue ribbon at the fair, that's something else again. (Yes, I know you were teasing me, but I am trying to examine the idea.) Isn't it extra gratifying when a shop buys your cross-stitch designs? Serious question.

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  4. Ooo, ooo, now I have four followers, TWO of whom have been and will be my friends forever. Huzzah!

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