I don’t write not to be read, I never did. I suppose that’s a bit self-obsessed in a way; my desire has been to involve other people in my interests. Writing is not solely a lonely pursuit, it’s directed towards some goal that has a certain social potential. Sure, I write notes that are not meant to be read (not even by me, judging by the crappy hand-writing), but I usually write those as a preparation for writing something that I think I will publish, sooner or later. Oddly, though, most of what I write remains unpublished, but that’s not the intention with which I write.
Being read is addictive. You want someone to see those words you carefully (sometimes not so carefully, I admit) type, preferably you want someone to understand them, but that’s asking a lot. Changing people’s minds is not a goal, but to make people think something is.
If I knew I wouldn’t be read, I doubt I’d write another word. I don’t write for myself. I’m aware that some people write for themselves, that writing is satisfaction enough, even without being read. But I’m too greedy for that. Even when I’ve written badly — which I have, on numerous occasions –, I didn’t write only for myself.
I went to a school where the written word didn’t matter; it was insignificant. Children should learn in other ways — through imitation, through copying, through the spoken word, if words were involved at all –, and express themselves in other ways — preferably through unintellectual activities, like creating hundreds of identical wet-on-wet paintings. Writing about the kind of education I received is the reason I ended up being read. That was not part of the plan; it just happened that way.
I was supposed to write something else, and be read for other reasons, and of course I still do write other texts, all the time. But not being read is a frightening prospect, when you’ve got accustomed to it, even you’re read mostly for a specific reason. You want to keep that, cherish the attention. Limited as it is, it is still to be read. Which is something I can’t count on, were I to publish other types of texts. I toy with the idea. I think: maybe, for a months time, I should not mention the w-word. And it scares the hell out of me. Because, after all, I never wrote not to be read.