Sunday, June 15, 2014


In review.
I began writing this blog post ranting about the prosecution of reviewers, you know, those people who feel ambitious enough after reading your novel to actually sit down and draft a plus (+) or minus (-) of your work and grade it accordingly with the STAR system. 5 stars being the ultimate in reader orgasm, 1 star being a miss fire, a pre ejaculatory mess. I am not a veteran of the publishing world. As a career, I am a writer in diapers. But, I have been doing this, writing that is, my entire life. Collecting words, creating emotional relationships using fictional, made-up-in-my-head characters, and, connecting those chosen words in a series of sentences or fragments (in my case) to project a story forward through dramatic conflict.  WRITING!   In the two years since the publication of my first novel A PERFECT HUSBAND (by a publisher) I have been witness to a string of varied and random observations from readers who felt obligated to write ‘a review.’
The entire process takes me back (a few years ago) to a period of my life living in NYC.  At the time, the opinion of everybody else regarding my writing seemed to matter more to me than my own. An insecure place to balance. The potholes of traditional publishing we all know. The procuring of a literary agent, (they like me!), the lengthy process of sending ‘the work’ out (they don’t!), the stalling, the waiting, the months on end hoping for something, anything, a crumb, some feedback, a nod of waning approval. The tedious reenactment of the familial rejection syndrome handed out ad nauseum, repeatedly. Again. When will it ever stop? Then, a decision by the actual one, who in the beginning ‘adored’ you, now, no longer does. “It’s business, buckle up brave boy.” And, in a very, dramatic, draconian voice denounces you and your work – your baby -- the novel you spent months slaving over, giving birth to several years prior, in a horrific, painful, soul-wrenching endless labor. Yeah, easy. Right?  “Furthermore, the work has nothing of merit, or of any great importance. It won’t sell,” and says to you, as an add on, an addendum, a fucking P.S., “Go back to the drawing board and do something entirely different.” Argh!  Publishing 101, in a nutshell. Five years of my life just flew by.
Hello new world. Hello KINDLE. We now live in a time of instant publishing gratification. If YOU don’t like my work, then maybe the reading public -- the hallowed mass of IPAD readers out there in the Universe who actually buy the books -- will. (Or, #download it for #free on a #KDP #promotion) Thus, the real story begins. The reviews trickle in. In the beginning, we receive the sparkly-shinny, iridescent ones from those who love us; family and friends and maybe a few adoring early fans. Some members of the clan are shocked to learn we can actually write sentences to even form paragraphs, let alone create an actual story line! With real, well…somewhat real characters, and move them quickly through a 400-page novel, triggering a series of dramatic automatic reactions to either engage or totally enrage them. WOW! We are a five-star sensation on Amazon. Our publishing career looks brilliant! Masterful! Up there in the Amazon logarithms and soaring into the stratosphere of those literary Super Stars shining brightly before us. We are now playing in the big leagues. Right? And then, some not so nice reviews begin infiltrating the perfect pod of our five star earthly existence and deliver their one star, “this is crap” comments. I get it. Really. Writing is an art form. It’s creative. And publishing art in whatever form will always enlist critique, from everybody. So, the first qualification of any new artist venturing into the world of self-publishing must be a suit of armor. If you want to play in the public arena of creativity, right alongside the big bad boys, you had better protect yourself. Emotionally. And, I can certainly live with the ‘it’s not my cup of tea, ‘or ‘it’s not what I was expecting’ point of view. What I do write may not be for everybody. Just saying. But then, there are the other reviews -- you know – the ones that make me chuckle through my tears. We are writers, yes, but we are also human, and not immune to the hurtful comments and remarks some of these reviewers feel it is their god-given duty to sling our way. We humans, I think, are still a relatively intelligent species, hopefully a sensitive breed, and a community of kind-hearted people. Aren't we? I mean, some of these reviewers are just plain rude. And angry. They take individual offense to the writing, as if I wrote the book to offend them…personally. Obviously, the writing hit a nerve, a core, some pulse of self-recognition hidden dormant somewhere in their fragile infrastructure. What did I write to stir up such irregular biorhythms of such extreme revolt? Such hatred? To such a degree they feel propelled to bolt to their computer, sit down and list each of the many offenses, one-by-one that affronted them. Really? Or, would they prefer I just rewrite the book. For them. Filter the characterization and use less offensive language, less sexual content, more Bambi, less Dionysus. Hmmmm…
As a writer and I say that with complete conviction, the craft of writing cannot be marred by restlessness, insecurity, or heartless feedback. The want or need to feed and/or fuel some youthful desire to be liked, or loved or approved of by everybody is ludicrous and foolish. I for one, would rather riot than revere, revolt than restrain, and unleash my characters raw, unmasked and into the world in full ceremonial regalia. For in upheaval comes the unfiltered creation of real life, real feeling and ultimately real human emotion. Give me a taste of blood…not some vapid, descriptive drivel. Voice is everything. Confidence in one’s voice the key…it will always unlock all the choices.  I wrote it before, I say it again, and I stand by it.

Now, just fucking GO for it!