We write in order to be read. Some write for money, some for glory, others to crystallise our thoughts and get them out of our heads. But we all write in the hope that someone will read our words, even if that person is our future self.
Most of my writing goes into a daily journal – you can read it when I’m dead – and my best work is behind a paywall at Five out of Ten. When you write to be read, but you erect a financial barrier between writer and reader, this creates an obvious contradiction. Our Patreon aims to fix this by making the magazine free for everyone, but we’re not there yet, so it remains locked for now.
We had an unexpected gap in the lineup at VideoBrains on 27th April, so I gave a live reading of two essays: one by Jake Tucker from ME&R, and my own ‘Get Well’ from Five out of Ten #10. ‘Get Well’ was a feature that meant a lot to me. It was difficult to write, and perhaps even harder to read in front of a live audience: what if they laughed at the sad bits, or worse, didn’t laugh at the bits that were meant to be funny?
There’s nothing fundamentally different between giving a talk and reading your work in front of a crowd. You’re just telling a story, although your storytelling should naturally fit the medium. I try to pack my VideoBrains talks with videos and photos that I can’t include in a magazine, in the same way that when Craig and I are designing Five out of Ten, we’re designing things that are not possible on a website. ‘Get Well’ wasn’t design-heavy in the first place and used my own photography, so I replaced screenshots with video clips and worked my way through the slides as I read. It was great to share that essay with an audience of friends and sympathetic strangers: it’s not often I get to simply show what Five out of Ten is all about without it coming across as a crass sales pitch.
You can watch the video of the talk below, or on the VideoBrains YouTube channel. For some further reading, ‘Get Well’ is the second part of an unofficial ‘Existential Crisis Trilogy’ beginning with ‘Wild’ in Five out of Ten #7 and ending (sort of) in ‘I’m Alive’. I’d be delighted to hear your feedback on Twitter if you’d like to share it.