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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Open letter to my readers

Dear Blog Reader, Hello? It’s time for more proper introductions after the conversation we’ve been having, the kind of conversation that Wilbur and Charlotte struck up in Mr. Zuckerman’s barn, she calling down her salutations from a shadowed corner of the rafters. Don’t take offense when I compare you to Wilbur and assume, for myself, the honored role of Charlotte. It’s just that, well, you see, I’m the writer here.

I have to admit to you how uncomfortable you often make me, you, the “audience.” It’s a cardinal rule of writing that we’re supposed to think about you, considering who it is that’s reading and why it is they ought to care. But I find the notion of audience about as safe as a nest of cobra eggs. You never know when eggs will crack and corruption slither out.

I can’t write for you. It makes me too dishonest. I’m quick to pull on pretense like my favorite pair of Wellies, making myself impermeable to the weather of your judgment. If you only knew just how much I want you to like me! There was, I admit, a time I played the ego math, calculating blog hits and drinking self-congratulations. But it is a game I’ve shelved and a bottle I haven’t refilled: three months now I’ve refused to check the stats on this blog.

You can understand why it’s better that I pretend, from my corner of the barn, that you do not, in fact, exist.

Without you, I can do my bravest writing, the writing that’s like window cleaning, words and sentences, paragraphs on a page cleaning away the film of inattention. The writing that’s like corn shucking, removing the husks of my defense and the silks of the half-truths by which I live. There, I find the naked cob of me. Without you, I’ll attempt the writing that’s like still portraiture and found poetry, discovering the everyday art that is my life (and tracing the hand of the Artist). Here, on this canvas, I can do writing that sails and writing that stands still, but I won’t have to be in charge of the sky.

Faceless friend, don’t ever feel the need to apologize when you don’t breathe a word that you’re listening. It might be better that way.

And if you’ve commented, emailed, or felt commissioned to encourage this artist to keep at her crude work, thank you. Dismiss all the bravado of the previous paragraphs. It’s true how I’ve needed you.