I’ve finished my latest “Rembrandt Parable”. Just like the last four this story was read to a small group of people. It was a story meant to be performed. That caused me to think about the nature of writing. Because I performed my story for an audience I made my writing more accessible.
I think that of all the arts writing is the most demanding on an audience. It demands a level of thought and participation that isn’t found in music and the graphic arts. Reading is a process of interaction between the mind of the reader and the concepts of language. Although in one sense writing is a visual medium, language is abstract. Reading involves the interpretation of abstractions. Pictures, videos, and other forms of artistic expression do involve abstract concepts, but the mediums themselves are not abstract. In this sense they are engaged passively by the interpreter. For instance, it isn’t as mentally taxing to watch a movie as it is to read a book or essay.
That being considered, I don’t think reading is as popular as music or video. Youtube and podcasts are phenomena. That isn’t to conclude that writing is maligned by the masses. It’s just that, given the choice, most people would prefer to hear or see the performance of a story than read the manuscript. (Would you rather watch Shakespeare’s Hamlet or read the play?)
The goal of art is to present ideas to a wider audience. I wonder if the best way to get my writing to that audience is through performance, like posting recordings of my stories.