Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On Criticism

There's an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond that always cracked me up. Ray cannot rest, he cannot sleep, because he's actually found someone who doesn't like him. Now poor Ray takes up the obsessive mission of changing that one mind, converting that person, because he simply can't fathom that it might be ok to do otherwise.

I feel like a lot of authors and artists are the same way. We know how much heart, how much of our souls and our beliefs go into our work. We know that we mean only the best for people and we want to deliver something that will make them happy, so when we get negative reviews or feedback, it can be painful, kind of like swallowing a jagged lump of coal, in fact. But I tend to tell my writer friends the same thing whenever I see that they're particularly distressed over a bad review: Not everyone will like your work, and that's okay. Write the story only you can tell for those who need to hear it.

That applies to most everyone in a creative field. Musicians, painters, sculptors... anyone whose work is subjective. All creation comes from an inspired place, a greater place than the base and mundane. If you can express it, it's meant to be perceived. Some will have no need for it, some won't understand it at all, but you and your observers will be changed by the unique color of the creation. You might pen the precise words, paint the perfect hues or strum the ideal chords that could move things forward, alter a soul - whether it be yours or someone else's. So, when someone doesn't march to the beat of your drum, if they think your notes are strange or your words are silly, well, maybe they are! But only to them. To others, they're exactly right. Sing for them.


kimberly said...

This is great! Thank you for sharing with us.

Jennifer Lane said...

I like it!

Anonymous said...

Sing to those that our art is exactly right for - that is exactly right!