“Well, I guess it’s the sort of thing you would have in a rest home, sitting on the table for when people are bored.”
It’s not the way I imagined someone talking about my first book of poetry. I had worked for years, endured deep thought and debate about single words in some of these poems and then fought hard to produce it all in a good looking book. And while I hope those unfortunate people who are bored in their rest home would find enjoyment and comfort in my book, it is not the location I had dreamed about for it. And I certainly didn’t expect to hear comments like this. As an intended compliment too! Seriously, the person thought they were complimenting me.
When you place your beloved “baby” into the public domain, it is perhaps done with immense trepidation. Even the most honest of comments, intended positively, can be soul destroying. I have found learning to smile in the face of what is sometimes coming across as abuse, difficult to master. And yet we heard this week how one disgruntled comment led to a bottle over the head.
It seems to me that sometimes the hardest things to learn in writing is not about the letters, words or spaces we form on the page. Neither are they about the formatting, publishing process, pricing and merchandising we are all a part of these days. Instead, it is simply being able to let your “baby” go.
When our children go into the world, people pass comment on them, sometimes praising them, at times not so. To let our kids loose on this world hurts, in comments and sometimes in how they change when the world gets a hold of them. Our writing goes through a similar process and we as parents must take the flak that comes. Our children grow by exposure to the world and so does our writing. And as parents we need to roll with the punches.
I think the hardest thing may be for screen writers, play writers or books that make it to film or television. Someone else then takes your child and changes them. Clips off the golden locks, dresses them in those gaudy colours or totally restricts their behaviour. Maybe the remuneration helps. I’ll let you know when I am there!
The simple fact is we can no more guard our writing from everything than we can our children. It is all about growing up. Yes we can vet who our writing is exposed to in some cases, change bad influences but ultimately we have to let some things just fly over us. Either that or ring every single care home and make sure there’s a copy on each table!
I’m currently publishing my first novel and the Kickstarter for Crescendo is running here until 21/11/15. Please support if you can.
G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!