All writers, by the way they use the language, reveal something of their spirits, their habits, their capacities, and their biases. This is inevitable, as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation, it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito”The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
How do I feel when someone reads something of mine and announces, loudly, “I absolutely don’t like it. It isn’t for me“? How do we feel when we stumble across a 1-star review on a book site, something bereft of any constructive criticism but so scathing it spawns a sequel to “No Turn Unstoned”?
C’mon. Admit it. Part of us wants for friends, strangers, countrymen to come rushing over “Oh my gawd it absolutely changed my life. You simply must quit your day job. Now! Forget them, for they are shallow and without taste! Take my car! The deed to the chalet in Aspen! Go, go now! Give the world more of this enchanting verse!!!”
Who are we to argue?
The former is a regular occurrence for most writers. The latter? Rarely, if ever. I’m okay with that, and I should be. Need to be. Have to be. It really isn’t, shouldn’t be about reaching the most. Making the most. Selling the most. It should be about reaching myself, and hopefully just one other.
Yes, I said that. Just one other. Because if I’m happy with it, it has already served its purpose. And if just one other person on the face of mother earth gets something out of it? Bonus.
Easier said than done, I know. It helps that I’m older now. In theory a little wiser now. My mental WAZE shows me in ‘Don’t give a damn’ land. Don’t get me wrong. I still care, especially about Getting It Right. But when I Get It Wrong? I’m not going to agonize over it. I’m going to say “Well, bugger. You’re absolutely right. Thank you.” Make some edits. Move on.
It helps that I like the person I’ve become. Will my writing undo all of my missteps? Undo a single misdeed from my past? Not even close. Can it help someone else to avoid a misdeed, misstep of their own? Maybe. Who knows? Hopefully.
I’m not my writing. But I’d like to be. I want my words to be better. Truer. And with them, Link as well. Who knows. Maybe? Hopefully.
If an infinite number of monkeys can replicate the Bard, maybe one of us can, by sheer force of will, perseverance, and luck, be the next Bard. Maybe not. Maybe we reach only two people, ever. Ourselves, and one other.