Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I recommend the following for your consideration

It’s been so freaking long since I wrote a blog entry, I began to wonder if I was still literate or not. Please, feel free to post your opinions about that. It’s not that there’s nothing to blog about, perhaps it’s that there is too much, and it’s hard just to pick one issue to have an opinion on.

Perhaps that’s where I’ll start. As you can tell, by the title of this blog, I enjoy sharing my opinion with people. (I call it sharing. Some choose to call it being overbearing and controlling. I don’t see it that way, Mary Ellen.) This issue came to mind this morning, when I was downstairs at the coffee place at work, and someone asked for “A muffin. I don’t care what kind”. I can’t imagine having the responsibility of choosing someone’s muffin for them. Why, the wrong pastry could ruin your whole day. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone making minimum wage (actually, the canteen operators here make more than that, but that’s not the issue here).

There is another area where the sharing of my opinion causes me a great deal of anxiety. George Murray over at the blog Bookninja.com posted a link about it the other day. Recommending books, to me, is a very personal thing. The types of books that people enjoy say a lot about them. When there are books that I’m emotionally affected by, it increases my trepidation exponentially. And yet, I’m torn between that trepidation, and wanting to share my finds with others. (I could name some, if you'd like...)

If you read that link to Bookninja, you’ll see comments from someone named Andrew, whom I don’t know (but have since learned is a writer), who uses people’s opinions of his recommendations as a friendship barometer of sorts. Works for me. I once had an almost heated argument with someone about the Time Traveler’s Wife, and ended up deciding that the woman was an idiot (no name, to protect the stupid). It’s most difficult, though, when there’s someone I truly respect, who says “yeah... it didn’t do anything for me.” So those are the people I am most hesitant about recommending a book to.

I respect the art of writing. It takes incredible courage to put pen to paper (or pixels to white space) and let people see it. I imagine (because I’ve never written anything that’s been let out into the world, save this blog, a couple of irate letters to the editor and my lame twitter/facebook updates. Oh… and my regular day to day job that involves writing reports on mentally ill offenders) that it’s like letting your child out into the world. (Which I am experiencing) You create something, edit it, perfect it … then let it go. Let it survive, or not.

Or not... how do you put something out there? Run the risk of it not being accepted, not being understood. Not being successful. Not surviving, in the real world.

Published writers, I am in awe.

8 comments:

Paul Michael Murphy said...

A certain amount of arrogance helps. Also, I tell myself that lots of people are going to reject it and I take sizable pride in my growing number of rejections. I don't take it personally (usually); I just figure all the rejections mean I'm one step closer to success.

The worst thing that happens? I write novel after novel after novel and never get any of them published. Oh well. They're still fun to write.

Ray Veen said...

Hey Paul, welcome to my nightmare.

Monica -- Nice comparison between writing and a child going out into the world. Could you imagine if newspapers and magazines printed critiques of how well you raised your children? I shudders.

Monica said...

Thank you for your input boys. Arrogance, eh.... i should develop some of that.


Ray... gawd, i hope to hell that never happens..."i wasn't yelling, i was giving instruction"

Monica said...

and Paul's been in my nightmares for years now. Well, it feels like it anyway

Katrina Urquhart said...

People do critique how you raise your children. Also, people choose to make friends or end friendships based on parenting styles.

I broke up with someone once over their response to a book. That wasn't the overt reason of course. It started with me being emotionally and intellectually moved by a book and him saying, "Kinda lame, didn't do much for me" and me saying "You have no soul." I knew, even if he didn't have the capacity to perceive it, that we had reached the beginning of the end.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I've become numb to rejection, except the ones that say something meaningful about my work. I take those to heart, good and bad.

Corey Redekop said...

I once almost got into a screaming match with an uncle (a former English professor with a deep affinity for sci-fi) who recommended The Da Vinci Code to me. This is a guy who has read and studied Tolkein, has taught Frank Herbert and Dan Simmons, and has every Stanislaw Lem novel. Seriously, cannot figure out what he saw in it.

Monika said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, the more Monica/Monikas the better.

You asked, "How do you put something out there? Run the risk of it not being accepted, not being understood. Not being successful. Not surviving, in the real world."

The answer is one writers hate - don't be afraid to write badly.

As a published writer I struggle with that every writing session but it is the absolute truth.

It's right up there with writing about what you know, what you love. The problem is that often means a writer reveals more about herself than she is comfortable with. It's the classic literary Catch 22; you have to connect with people for them to connect to your work.

Rejection hurts but not putting anything out there is even worse.