All things to all people

While a certain founder of a major organized religion may have humble-bragged about being all things to all people, those of us with more earthly ambitions are well advised to aim quite a bit lower. The thing about people is that there sure are quite a lot of them. All of those people come with varied opinions, tastes, and preferences. You can't can't be all things to all people; you just can't make everyone happy. To an artist, the worst part about trying to please everyone is not the impossibility of the task, though. The worst part is that trying to make everyone happy risks delighting no one.  I don't chisel moments out of my day to write something for people to smile and nod over. I write to delight, even if sometimes the story is grim. I write to compel, to inspire, to challenge. I do not write to mildly amuse.

I hold no illusion that I am the next great author of the English reading world. I don't claim to create art that will last as long as Shakespeare's or Homer's. I don't aspire to rival Maya Angelou's eloquence or Patricia Lockwood's sly humor. Still, I write to connect with people, to create work they feel in their hearts, and maybe even feel a bit lower, as much as it hopefully resonates inside their heads.

That's a tall order, but it's easier than being all things to all people.


Note: This particular concept has been kicking around in my head for a long time now, but I didn't know how to articulate the idea properly until a friend pointed out this reality. Thank you, Cran.