Saturday, December 15, 2012
On criticism and analyses
So, I've publish ch 56 and 57 of MSR since my last posting.
Some questions have come up by my readers in their reviews, and I've answered the reviewers directly, but I've come to find that sometimes people have the same or similar question, and answering it to one person does not allay the general concern.
So, I've decided for now, to offer some analysis on the chapters I publish as questions arise, and to publish my thoughts on ... well, these thoughts.
Hubris, I know. It treads the line of "I wrote it, so this is how I think you should read it." It does tread that line. You, as the reader, have the right to read, or not to read, what you read in what I write, and it may very well be a failing of conveyance on my part, and not of understanding or comprehension on yours.
So, there's the danger of hubris, but there's also the danger of safety, for me, in writing analyses. And the safety (the danger of safety) is two-fold. I'm making a statement of analysis, and who are you, as the reader, to gainsay what almighty I have stated. That's one danger. I've a very strong personality, and it's easy for me to say 'thus and so,' and it may be difficult for you to state an equally valid position that you have that I'm entirely blind to.
The other danger of safety is this: it's all so easy for me to glory in what I wrote and, on top of that, it's so easy to analyze that, instead of what I should be doing: writing that next chapter, and daring to publish it. Analysis, as an art, is consumptive. It's safe to say 'this writing is this style' or 'that style,' as the consumer: you are critiquing what is there. But if I as the writer, settle into the mode of a critic, then I'm not producing. It's safe to critique, because what is there has gone through that horrifying process of creation, then molded into something readable, and then the author has submitted that work for publication. All the hard work was done in the past, and the critic has the easy job of picking apart something that was oh-so-painfully put together.
This is not to say I do not appreciate every review. Because I do. Every one of them I have received (and I have also received some vitriolic ones). This diatribe is directed at myself, not at you: you are brave to write a review, as, on average, one in every thousand of my readers actually write a review, and most the reviews, I find to my delight and surprise, are substantive.
No, this post is a reminder to myself. I'm posting an analysis on what I wrote, AND my job, as a writer, is not to self-analyze my own work, Mr. Narcissist, but to write, and to write, and to write.
Let me tell you a secret. I hate writing. Every chapter I've written since chapter 12 and on, I've cried, sometimes in bits, over days and weeks, sometimes, continuously, over a stretch of hours at a time. I hate that. I wish, I so wish, that I were the reader of MSR, enjoying, pondering, anticipating each chapter, instead of being the writer, having all in my head already, and dreading each second I take thinking about putting words to paper, and then publishing those words, each one of them not quite what I wanted to be or to say, but there they are, now published, as I wait for the reviews that don't come, and for the reviews that I fear that will.
That doesn't matter. God gave me the gift of writing. And He won't asked whether I liked it or not. He'll ask what I did with that gift, and He'll ask me 'why' when I didn't.
So, analyses to follow.
And, yes, when I have the courage and fortitude to say 'yes' to the words, writing to follow, too.