My first collection of short stories called, “WHITE EYES” was published by Breton books a couple of years ago. I’m proud of that book.
Recently, I finished a series of stories based on the adventures experienced by characters I have met and lived with both on and off a Canadian reserve. The stories do not overtly mention a reserve nor any obviously Native information. This is my strategy to avoid the correctness critics. And surprisingly, I’ve found that this foxiness frees up my creative engine.
So today, on the first blog that I’ve ever written in my entire life, I’m declaring that I will try really, really hard not to read any more reviews about my writing. Amen.
I can handle good reviews. Who can’t? They build confidence. Bring them on, although they can have their deleterious aspects too. However, the bad ones can settle in like bed bugs in a mattress. The negative comments keep on keeping on. If you let it, the negativity can grow like an unchecked tumour. I think even the most hardened writers find it difficult to deal with critical comments they consider unfair. I know most writers find them at least irritating, rarely enlightening and often doctrine-driven.
Some years ago I had a story accepted by a national magazine. They were all aglow about the new section in their magazine which would deal with social disparity, injustice and all the other issues we face in our society. My Native/non-Native story was to be the first story printed in this new section.
Not! Because at one point in this publishing process, I was asked by an editor if I was a Native. I’m not. My story was jettisoned from the want pile. I continued to write the stories anyway because I can’t smother the images which have burned into my soul.
I think if you write about cultures that are outside the intrinsic knowledge and experience of the majority than you are open to the review hall bouncers. The politically correct pot shooters. Lots of duck and cover.
So, no more reading of reviews for me unless both my editor and lover tell me they’re uncontaminated and safe. We all need our egos stroked from time to time.
I’m reminded of the words of Robert Frost. He spoke them after he’d tried to impress some editors in New York. He said, “I had mud on my shoes. They could see the mud---.” I would be thankful and pleased if you liked my mud.
Take care and thanks for reading my blog.