On Writing: The Constructed Reader
Writing is a conversation between the writer and a constructed reader. The constructed reader is served words, punctuated in stories and tales, filled with lessons, facts and information. The constructed reader could be a close friend, a colleague, or a fixed set of receivers which could take shape of a letter, a mail or a message. The constructed reader could be an audience that the words are meant to be read, felt and understood, which then makes work take shape of a book, a video, a statement. The constructed reader could be the writer themselves, which would make one wonder if using ‘constructed’ would be redundant but the fact is even the writer addresses a certain part of himself, an idea of himself that he writes for, writes about, which lends the word ‘constructed’ a life of its own.
A constructed reader when translated to real people is everyone and no one at the same time. While it is addressed specifically, those outside that purview also read, appreciate and at times feel as if the words were meant truly for them in a god honest way. Some other times the very people whom it is addressed aren’t invigorated, could not resonate with the meaning or context that the works try to convey. This very common result of very many writers makes the concept of a constructed reader not so relevant in the practical sense of reading, hence a mere ‘construction’ in mental sense. But it still holds a vital importance for the writer, because without this construction, the process is rudderless, without a sense of direction.
Now, this entire barb about constructed reader and writing is not to test your patience or show off my skill at conjuring up bullshit that sounds intellectually worthy, but it is a conversation with myself as I think about why I haven’t written anything for the past four months. As a tradition in making I came up with this brilliant idea of writing about why I wasn’t writing whenever I take extended breaks from this whole process of writing. Sounds easy, right? No. It is not. I struggled for two whole weeks failing to come up with fortitude to sit down and write. But now, in this writing moment, words and thoughts are flowing unhindered like a smooth river, but also with tremendous weight and urgency like a burst up dam.
Who is my constructed reader you may wonder? I would say myself, or some unintelligible part of me that I cannot put in words or explain; something very similar to sub-conscious that ever present but unknown corner which I felt I need to address. If I write for myself, then why make it public? At first glance I would say I don’t know, isn’t that what writers do, write and show it to the world. But thinking, I realize that I am writing it to myself which is true, but the audience or constructed reader is also my friends who have read my work in the past, whom I sub-consciously wish they know what is happening and who in the purest, no shit sense would care to read.
And that in a crooked, half hearted selfish way sums up the reason why I didn’t write.
No one cared.
That includes me.
You might wonder why I started writing now. And the answer is simple, and always the only way to get started on anything in this world; it is that I started caring. What of my friends, you would wonder. Well I don’t know. Few of them did care and brought this up in our conversations, but most didn’t and I cannot blame them. Aren’t we adults i.e. to be responsible and lookout for ourselves? I should have checked on myself much earlier, but it’s ok. Better today, than tomorrow.
These last four months weren’t dry patches either. I did write few non-fiction pieces which I hope would take shape in to something more lasting than a casual story meant to delight you and myself. I also wrote couple of emails which required some thinking and a short story series which I am proud of having created, but which I should edit and continue expanding on. The reason I am not happy with myself is that the last two months were especially unproductive. One of those people, who cared, wondered why I haven’t written anything after my travel in Taiwan, which like other earlier travels, warrants at least one post. And I have myself to blame.
Now that I have started to care, I publicly announce that every week one post would be up on my blog in medium. If you don’t see it, then don’t just assume, start caring and blame me.
My constructed reader is you, as you have cared to read till here.
BTW constructed reader is a word I ripped off from David Foster Wallace, whom I have I come to appreciate recently. More about him, some other time.