October 24, 2017 brian_allain

Finding my Niche (or Not)

As all REAL WRITERS TODAY are taught to do, I’ve been working hard to “define my niche.”  I have looked for that place that is only-mine-that-no-other-human-being-has-ever-spoken-from-written-about-or-preached-on before.  And so I’ve gone down a few of the paths that in their own particular and partial ways “are me.”   I’ve meandered down a few to see if at the end of them there is a writing desk.  By a fireplace.  With a coffee maker.  And a window.  A window overlooking a meadow with lovely trees and a mountain in the background with the sun rising behind it.  With the sun always rising behind it and gentle music playing, but not too loudly because that would block the absolutely smooth flow of my writing.  And there I would sit with a steady flow of inspiration and insight to offer the world from MY NICHE.

During this process of searching for MY NICHE I’ve followed “Gay Path” thinking I could write really good GAY STUFF.  I’ve tried “Priest Path” figuring that after 23 years of ordained life, I have something very particular to say ABOUT THE CHURCH.  I’ve even tried the “Gay Priest Path Who Owns Two And A Half Dogs (read about that in a niche blog coming soon) and Two Cats” knowing that while for Episcopalians this is an overly-worn-let’s-get-on-to-other-things path, it’s still MINE. And so it is perhaps niche worthy.

But here’s the problem with the niche approach: the last thing I want is to establish or lay claim to a place that is only mine. I have that already and it’s an OK place to visit, but it’s not really where I want to live.  I’m just not that entertaining, or resourceful, or insightful all by myself. I can get stuck there too easily, digging holes rather than shining lights or learning new things.

I don’t want a room of my own. I want a space that is ours.  Writing for me is never an attempt to carve out My Place.  It’s a “reach out from the inside” as Peter Gabriel put it.  It’s a way to connect through your eyes (thanks again, Pete) by way of my words.

I write to be with.