Monday, December 10, 2012

Christian and secular art, literature and poetry, light and dark

The Christian and Secular Audience

I admit. My first well-formed (completed) poems were Christian poems. (Although I've not published these, yet). However, I always wanted to reach a wider audience that may not necessarily be Christian (or even religious). Now that I think I've reached that stage, I'm wondering: Where IS that audience?

No, I'm not just speaking of marketing efforts, or reaching sales targets. I'm talking about audience in general, primarily an English-speaking audience (since that's what my poetry has been translated into). For, mathematically (probabilistically, statistically) speaking, this audience would be there in quite large numbers. Well, let me explain:

Let's just take the Christian factor. In what I'm considering the big English-speaking countries (USA, UK, Australia, Canada), the percentage of Christians is on average above 70%. ( But I shall go further, and assume only a one-percent Christianity that is fulfilling my criteria (like poetry, read/write 'secular' literature with a 'Christian' flavor). If it were a mathematics problem of: "What's the probability of taking a white ball in a bag with 99 black balls and 1 white ball" that's simple enough: One in a hundred. That would mean that in one hundred poems read, or just by chance, I would come along something that would grab my attention. It didn't happen. 

Maybe it's the literature magazines, samples of which I've read online, that are 'too secular'. Like Hollywood? But then, where is the Christian-flavored, gentle-stuff, deep-thinking version of secular Hollywood? Why isn't it there?

Creators - Content-makers

Yes, I'm talking about 'audience', but I'm also talking about creators. For if they are there (they should be there, somewhere), they would have to be visible, and have an audience. And given the large percentage (of Christian vs. 'secular'), they would be more visible. Is it so, indeed? 

I can think of only two things. 
One: Christians only write Christian stuff
Two: A Christian person is not interested in art as much as a secular person

Let's do math on number two: Let's take a 80/20 percent approach. 
Secular: 80% of 30% = 24%
Christian: 20% of 70% = 14%
So, about half. 

Maybe then, it's indeed the number one. Christians mostly write and read Christian literature (and then get everything else from the non-Christian content-maker).

I don't know. I'm only speculating. And there are many other religions out there, although I'm talking mainly about Christianity here. But let's return to the 'audience' then, not to the 'content-maker'. 

The gentle 'secular' 

Wouldn't the Christian person prefer a gentler (quasi-secular, 'Christian'-flavored) content? I guess he/she would, but then it's not easy to access this resource according to the above analysis. Now, I can't possibly know everything, and there might be such an 'access' portal to make things easy that I still am not aware of. In case somebody knows, let me know. 

But beyond religion, as in a wider audience and content, as in a culture, among all countries I'm aware of, I've seen the Japanese be far closer to what I'm looking for. I'm not sure how it came to be like that, but that's my opinion. Unfortunately, though, I neither can read Japanese, nor can I write or translate into that language. Also, although the gentler audience is there, there's a stronger competition I guess. 

I see two options for me: either continually complain about all this situation, or, on the other hand, do something about it. The best thing is of course to try.

Simple vs Deep, Light vs Dark

In my previous post on poetry - Poetry, prose, story, philosophy and abstract art -
I focused on the balance between depth and understanding (simplicity) of poetry. In this post I want to make clear what I mean by gentle (or Christian-flavored as contrasted to secular-flavored). 

Let's take a simple theme: 
"A boy gives a girl flowers" 

The, what I call, 'simple' version (gentle, light, but not very deep): 
I bought two flowers for her
A gift to the most beautiful girl
Soft the flowers, soft the wrappings
Our love so soft and gentle

The, what I call 'dark' version (the 'secular'): 

I bought two flowers for her
Full of jealousy, I plucked all the petals
To make them spears and arrows
To make her pay for hurting me

The, what I call, 'interesting' but not dark version (still gentle, but interesting):

I bought two flowers for her
Does she love me, does she not
I plucked all the petals from the first
And gave her the remaining flower

Of course, these are made up now as I'm writing, but are a general idea of what I mean. 


There's nothing wrong with Christian literature (and, since it interests me personally, in particular: poetry). But I'd like that gentler - not particularly religious - (but 'deeper' as well) poetry, and literature in general, is more visible and more accessible. 

If you are a person who thinks likewise, you may want to contact me. As I said above, if there's already an 'access point', you may want to tell me, too. Although I focused on Christians, it really doesn't matter where you come from. 

In the end, thanks for coming this way whether by luck or by 'focused' search and reading yet another long post. I hope it's helpful in some way to you.