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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Walt Whitman

"To have great poets there must be great audiences too."

American Poet
1819 - 1892

I have been listening to a biography of the singer, Marvin Gaye, and one of the emotional struggles he faced was whether to write and produce the kind of songs that he wanted to and his muse demanded or to write songs for his audience.  Gaye apparently vacilated back and forth.  He felt guilty when he pandered to his audience and the money they gave him.  He felt he was betraying his musical vision.  Every artist, writer, actor and singer has experienced similar frustrations.  We want our work to be accepted by the public, but we don't want them to dictate what we create.  It is a fine balancing act.

Every artistic work requires an audience whether it is an audience of one or a thousand.  The great artists, writers, poets are fortunate to find great audiences, even though it may be after they die.  And sometimes great audiences will push the artists to create even greater works.  Actors and musicians will tell you that live audiences impact their performances positively and negatively.

Who do you create for?  Yourself?  Or your audience?  Are you frustrated by having to create what people want to buy?  How do you balance the demands of your muse and the expectations of your audience?