Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Critic and the Creative

I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to bite off the hand that feeds me. This blog is not about dissing critics and reviewers. Believe me, I have a boatload of my own not-so-humble opinions that I’m happy to divulge, and oddly, not everyone agrees with me.

Critics and reviewers have their place, rightfully. Judgment raises its voice every day, in the art world, the cinema, and in every written word. Even your inner critique engages you when you make your choice. Will it be Rice Crispies or Cocoa Puffs?

One of my manuscripts went before several ‘outside professional reviewers’. One person wrote, “I would read anything by this author”. Another wrote that he couldn’t get through my first chapter of crap. Hard to believe they were reading the same material!

It’s curious to me, this large percentage of C&R’s that have never pitched their own finished creations. Because they have none!
It’s curious to me, what power they yield. A critic sees a red vertical line painted on a black canvas and says it’s crap, but when he sees the red horizontal line on a black canvas, he knights it as genius. A star is born. Stephen King received the following critique/rejection for his bestselling novel, Carrie: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”

I was lucky. My mother and father both fostered my creativity. I would run to them and say, ‘Look what I did’, and always, I did GREAT! Imagine my surprise when I found out that some of what I did was crap.
To take a blank canvas and turn it into emotion, that’s the hard work. Hard work is taking an empty stage and creating life, and turning a ream of paper into comedy and tragedy.

For you, today, I wish creativity. Perhaps it’s the rock you position in your garden, just right. Maybe its adding a few lines to the store-bought greeting card you send out. Perhaps creativity is only a glimpse of inspiration today, that stirs you when you take a hard look at a crooked tree in silhouette with the inky skyline. You may not go home and paint it. You may not journal about your sighting. But your heart , somewhere down in there, has taken notes, and if you listen to it, may it sing.

Oh yeah. I still wait in judgment.

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