This is Big Eyes.

She hangs on the wall next to my head when I sit at the computer. I can see her out of the corner of my eye most of the time, because I’ve been getting ready to move my desk and I have boxes and piles of papers taking up the space where my chair should be, so I have to sit at an angle.

She was painted by my daughter several years ago. She’s joined on the wall by Guitar Dude.

Guitar Dude was put together by my son. The two of them are my audience as I write.

Why do I need an audience? Because writers do. Because I can’t help but write toward an audience of some sort, even when I pretend I don’t. And once people start reading what you write, well, that audience becomes all sorts of things. Good things, bad things, labels, challenges…it’s a long list.

Sometimes that’s a great thing. Sometimes it’s a confusing one. I think part of learning to be a writer is learning to control the volume as you listen to the audience collected in your head, to figure out who you invite to sit in the front row, and who there really isn’t any room for at all.

I need some tangible reminders of that lesson. So I have Big Eyes and Guitar Dude. They’re my audience when it’s hard to write. Just a few more chords, Guitar Dude says, and I smile and nod. Big Eyes says nothing, just watches.

Me? I write.