“According to my principles, every master has his true and certain value. Praise and criticism cannot change any of that. Only the work itself praises and criticizes the master, and therefore I leave to everyone his own value.” ~Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach
Leaving the secure seclusion of writing for my own pleasure, reading for mere enjoyment and crafting worlds without the thought of an intrusive, omniscient eye, was perhaps the most self-indulgent thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t bravery, but vanity. And yet, somewhere inside this mess of a soul, therein rests a quiet voice that insists that I did it for those few who will love what I create and be blessed by it. That being said, that same small voice has a vicious guard dog who fights like hell whenever anything threatens the vital thread of psyche that’s responsible for my work.
I imagine that authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz have similar devices, which lucky for us who are loyal to them, keeps them writing despite the hostility of an ungrateful public. On one hand, you have to reach a certain level to get the startling, abrasive, nasty sort of criticism that extends past the bounds of your creative work and encroaches on your personal space. Stephanie Meyer has certainly gotten more than her fair share. Yet, it’s appalling that we’ve created such a disgraceful culture of criticism that it has now become a respected art form in its own right. Many critics aren’t capable of creating anything worth more than two grains of salt, so they take bits and pieces of the english language and woefully try to string them together in an effort to sound like an authority.
Where is this coming from? Well, I’m not going to get specific, but I will note that someone attempted to be clever by leaving an uncalled for, juvenile, unfounded remark on the jschancellor.com site. Don’t bother looking, the guest book isn’t there anymore. Am I being a coward for taking it down? No, I’m exercising my right to moderate comments and I couldn’t do that the way that it was currently set-up. I’m not a glutton for punishment and the last time I checked, I’m also a human being with real feelings and serious passion for what I do. Only a hobbyist shrugs off a direct hit like that without so much as a deep breath.
Yes, this is part of the territory. Surely, by now, you know that I’m aware of that. I didn’t go into this blindly or without at the very least expecting it. It will get worse. I’ll see more than a few, well-worded, scathing reviews. I’ll have readers and industry critics alike telling me that I should have kept my day job. I have a middle finger for a reason. No, it’s not professional to react to these things. I’m supposed to be graceful, like the southern lady that I am (I was raised down here, afterall…), but every now and then someone has to ask, “Who the hell coddled you as a child and mistakenly gave you the impression that your opinion matters?”
Who better for the job than me?
I suspect that this fine gentleman lives in his parents’ basement and wouldn’t be able to hear me over the sound of his mother calling him and his friends upstairs for brownies. But, in all seriousness dude, get an education, read a little more, expose yourself to a little more culture, get a job, get a girlfriend (that isn’t inflatable), change your underwear, learn some manners, sell some of that shit on Ebay and buy your own car…do SOMETHING, anything at all, instead of sitting in your greasy, pissburnt rollerball chair and trolling the internet for places to display your left-over teenage angst.
So says my guard dog…