Reader Profile

If you aspire to write books, which I do, then you must define your audience: those to whom you wish to speak. If you aspire to live a life, which, well, I also do, then I believe you're always in the process of defining your people: those whom you wish to seek. And if you aspire to discover just who-on-earth-you-are, which, well, again, I do, you come to a place where you start to see that the work done in defining your audience and your people comes in quite handy when standing in front of mirrors: he, or she, to whom you wish to be. If you're of the algebraic persuasion, a + b = me.

What follows is the "reader profile" I've put together for book proposals and such. Based on the highly scientific equation above, it's also my "people profile" which, well, seems quite equal to me. I believe that a writer always writes for himself first, which, in this case, seems to truck nicely with the woefully goofy theory I've lain at thy feet. I'm amending the proposal wording slightly by using the collective we because, well, I am talking about us, you and me.

The reader of this book will be thirty, forty, or fifty-something; we’ve lived a little. We are the Busters and the Boomers and some of us find ourselves love children of the two: the Bummers. We are somewhere in the middle, not teenagers howling at the moon or senior adults longing for that old time whatever. We're not sure about the best to come because we haven’t been there yet, but we do believe there’s been some pretty good so far. Unless you’ve matured faster than normal, you have to be in this middle to wonder about the ways I write. Pondering this stuff too early results in premature living; you may have the knowledge but you don’t have the scars.
We were adults on September 10th but spent most of September 11th with the uncertainty of a child. Our knees got weak when the towers fell. Our faith did as well. The same thing happened when that shuttle lit up the sky. And when the crawler on the tv said Elvis is dead.
We are everything from married with children to not only do my kids still live at home, but my grandkids do too to divorced and doing just fine thank you very much.
We may also be single. And for the life of us, can't figure out why.
We have been at this faith thing for sometime now, more than likely playing where the church could see us. But we're venturing out more these days; off the path, off the trail. If not directly affected by some sort of church scandal, we’ve seen more than enough on the front-page or the 10 o’clock news. Our faith in those of the cloth is threadbare; it's not how we want it to be, it just is.
We’ve been to most conferences, read most books, listened to most tapes, worked through most Bible studies. In our quest for more, we've beginning to realize that some may be just fine.
We are able, or at least are open, to seeing the presence of God in everything from the Gospel of John to Cool Hand Luke. We believe that all truth is God’s truth.
We know that a culture is dying and “when the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure” - so we’re confidently unsure. Maybe.
We believe that love trumps all, that faith is not so much moving mountains as it is knowing mountains, and that hope is much, much more than the birthplace of Bill Clinton. And being confidently unsure, we add a fourth to the usual three - courage. Although it’s not in the apostle's literal list, we believe it’s there in the margins, that place where the shy soul often lingers. But even of these four that abideth, the greatest is still love, always has been, always will be. Amen. Chang chang, chang-it-ty chang shoo-bop.

1 comment:

  1. That's the way it will beeee wahooo, yeah! We'll alwaaaays be togeeether. We'll alwaaaays be togeether. Fade to black.

    Confidently unsure. Amen.

    P.S. Grease didn't seem so dirty to me when I saw it in 1978. 'Course now, it's just so sinful, I can hardly stand it. And I still love it.