Who’s Your Audience? A Profile of Ethan Bello

Writing for a Child.

          I took a class last semester called “Writers on Writing,” with Sigrid Nunez. The class focused on the literary lifestyle and what it means to be a writer from a writer’s perspective. Nunez proposed a question during one of the classes: who is your ideal audience? I sat quietly in the corner, trying to formulate an answer while everyone else responded. Then, Nunez caught me off guard by asking me. At the time, I was scrolling through the people I cared about: family members, oddballs, misfits and the other misunderstood souls who, like me, constantly turn to stories for comfort and guidance. However involuntarily, the words came from my mouth: “I write for myself as a child.” It was one of the most honest things I have ever said.

            I was a very imaginative kid. I struggled to play with my classmates in elementary school, because I found the stories they were creating to be boring. When I played, my kitchenette would become a glorious world; the cabinets would be mountains, the tiles would be an endless field of purple and red grass through which my characters would venture.

            If I strip away the layers of my adult life, rid myself of my stresses, anxieties, daily plans and obligations, underneath it all, I am still that boy. When I write something he doesn’t like, it fails. When I ignore him, he gets angry. He is my imagination. I often picture him on the top bunk in the dingy apartment where I was raised, sitting cross-legged on the mattress, waiting to hear a story. The part of me that knows there is nothing else I should be doing except recreating those whimsical worlds on paper is that little boy, who’s imagination was always easier to understand than the real world.