Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I loved my mother...

But something I finally clarified, this evening, was just how much self-doubt she sowed into my being. I can think I've done something really good, and I can get praise and positive responses to it, but let 1 or 2 people say it's not perfect, and my confidence in the project is damn near shattered. And I know it stems from how I was raised -- "You always have to see the other person's side and accept their opinion is as valid as yours."

That is death to an artist or anyone who creates, because there will ALWAYS be someone who won't like what you've done. The adage, "You can't please everybody", is especially true when it comes to writing or painting or making music. Taste is completely individual to each of us, and what I think is great, you might think is stupid or silly.

For example, I think "The 400 Blows" is a near perfect movie. I can watch it over and over and over, and it was one of the few valuable DVDs I own that I refused to sell when I was broke. But other people have shrugged it off as "okay" or "nice enough"...and I can't understand why. I also think "Seven Samurai" is a brilliant film without a boring moment in it, but Robert Osborne and Rose McGowan dissed it (on TCM, no less) as being slow in spots.

Conversely, "ET" is beloved by millions but I wasn't all that impressed, and you could not get me to go see a James Cameron movie after "Titanic". Granted, he's only made one since then, but I still haven't seen it.

So I know all of this, intellectually, but emotionally I'm still subject to needing nothing but positive response to my work for me to think it has validity. I'll fight like a madman for my characters and stories when I feel they've been treated unfairly, in general, but if someone critiques them and points out issues that don't work for them, I can see their point.

Why? I don't do that in politics; the GOP is wrong and that's the end of the story. I don't do that in religion; the Talibangelicals are out to destroy democracy in the US and they should be stopped, period. So why the fuck do I care if someone doesn't think my writing is perfect?

That's weak and silly and juvenile. And it's ridiculous; I'm too friggin' old to be such a weenie.

No comments: