Further to my story being published the other day, there are now some comments on the site. I’ve been told some of them are critical, but I haven’t yet had the courage to look for myself. I know people can be especially harsh on-line, and it does upset me when I get critical comments, whether or not I feel they are deserved. The first post I ever put on the Mslexia blog generated a comment that the writing was awful and the piece trivialised a serious topic. I got a lot of supportive comments following that, but the initial experience was like a blast of cold air.
And this is the problem for all artists. Whenever you put your work out there, you are inviting comment – and whilst you hope comments will be appreciative and criticism constructive, it often ain’t. There’s always someone who won’t like what you do, no matter how good you (and others) think it is. How many of Shakespeare’s contemporaries slagged him off? Quite a few, I should think, and not only because they were envious. Of course, as C P Snow pointed out, you’ve asked for it – or some part of your nature has. You want to be seen and read, you need readers; and in order to get them you have to run the gauntlet of the critics, both paid and unpaid.
Or, as Leonard Cohen puts it:
There’s torture and there’s killing
and there’s all my bad reviews
So if you liked the story please go to the site and post a nice review. But only if you liked it. If you didn’t tell me why – but be kind!