As part of our profile series on the Riggio: Writing and Democracy community, 12th Street asked our Fiction Editor, playwright and Riggio student Daniel Gee Husson, to consider the question: “Who’s your audience?” Below is Daniel’s exploration of the relationship between his audience, his characters, and the human condition.
Who is my audience? That’s an interesting question because I never actually considered myself as a writer with an audience. I haven’t been published extensively. In fact, it has only been in the last few months that I’ve really begun focusing on publication.
But that’s the thing. With publication, no matter how small, comes circulation, scrutiny, and discussion. I’d like to think my audience would actively engage in all three.
A lot of my work deals with loneliness, conflict, and the spaces between words. What is unsaid, in dialog, specifically, is usually more important than what is. I want my audience to understand the need for connection I think humans have and how most of us are really incompetent at achieving true, lasting connections. We can’t say what we mean and when we do it’s misinterpreted so we’re all fumbling with communication and meaning.
My audience has felt fleeting love and abject loneliness. My audience knows that even “bad” characters are sympathetic. They know that “good” characters aren’t without a dark side and that’s what makes it all interesting. My audience wants to see those characters in the world and everyone in between.
I know there are some people that read my work who won’t like it at all. Maybe it’s because my dialog is too ordinary or that nobody does anything terribly unexpected. My audience knows that’s the point: there can be drama, heartbreak, elation in the most ordinary and mundane moments of life.
When I sit down to write, I don’t try to tell the most original story in the history of original stories. Instead, I attempt to write human stories in the truest way I can. It doesn’t have to be about an extraordinary character or deed, but it has to be as authentic as I can make it.
My audience can see a little bit of themselves in every character. They’re an empathetic group. They know there’s more about us that makes us alike than different, and it’s a shame that sometimes we can’t seem to get it together.
My audience is like me, like you, just doing our best to muddle through.
Daniel Gee Husson is a former newspaper copy editor, documentary writer/producer, and actor. He now focuses his writing on loneliness and isolation and how humans try to connect. If you hear someone laughing, it’s probably him. He lives in Greenpoint.