Saturday, March 17, 2012

home again...home again

I'm baaack! Back from the wild and wonderful African bush country around Lobosoit, Tanzania. If you're interested in hearing more about my adventures, you can read about it on my dedicated blog, "Cherished Illusions", at  where I am journaling about the experience and my reflections on it.

The question is, why would you be interested in it? Unless you're a friend or family member, a member of the team I traveled with, or someone planning a similar trip, why would my experience matter to you?

This, it seems, is the same question we have to ask ourselves every time we sit down to write. With every short story, every essay, every novel, we have to ask, "Why would this interest anyone? Who would it interest? How can I make it come to life?"

It might be your concept. For example, in "Cherished Illusions", I'm writing about a trip to Africa to serve on a medical mission.

It might be your theme, ie. the futility of providing aid to Africa, or saving a village one life at a time, or how cultures merge.

Perhaps your characters are compelling, ie. a doctor who resents his assignment to a remote health clinic, or villager who is working to improve conditions for women, or an elder who bears the scars of a lion attack. I met them all.

Your readers may be attracted by your thrilling plot lines, or erudite prose, or your sense of humor.

I'll be interested to see who visits my new blog, though in truth, I'm writing it for myself without concern for an an exercise in journaling, as a thoughtful reflection, as a personal memoir.

With my novel-in progress, on the other hand, I hope to attract attention, to garner rave reviews, and to achieve fame and fortune so I need to be clear about who I'm writing for, what they want to read, and how to deliver it.

If you're interested in my journey, or curious about Africa and the debate roiling over aid to Africa...or if you're captivated by the wildlife and landscape of the continent...or if you'd like to meet a couple of Masai people and explore their culture... then hop on over to "Cherished Illusions" and let me know what you think. I'll be posting for a couple of weeks as I gather my thoughts, organize my pictures, and recover from culture shock.

Do you write for yourself or your audience? How much are you willing to pander to your readers?
"This is our goal as writers, I think:
to help others have this sense of wonder,
of seeing things anew,
 things that catch us off-guard,
 that break in on our small bordered worlds.
When this happens, everything feels more spacious.
I think this is how we are supposed to be -
present and in awe."
--Anne Lamott--
In my next post, I may toy with the problem of finding the right word.


  1. glad you are back safe and sound and that you had a meaningful experience ....
    In answer to your question, I write for myself....

  2. Thanks, Delores. I'm with you...write what you are passionate about and I believe the reader will find you.

  3. So glad you're back. I can't wait to read about your experiences.