Monday, December 30, 2013

Armchair Critic


Before writing Rock the Kasbah, I was a perfectionist.  Consumed with meeting the unique expectations of the various people I encountered.  I made the choice to value the opinions and voices of those around me over my own time and time again. In short, I victimized myself.  Writing the blog started the process of shedding the anonymity I clung to.  Writing the book, solidified I wasn't turning back.  And now, I'm a certified, card-carrying Born Again Imperfectionist.

The thing about being a writer, artist, singer, musician, comedian, dancer or anything in the creative field is everything you create is shaped by your life experiences.  And when you share your work with others, it's open to interpretation and here's the big one, the perceptions of others.  Which are shaped by the reader, viewer or listener's unique life experiences.    

The book was therapy for me.  I relived past hurts.  I looked at minuscule accomplishments that I never thought of as small triumphs and relabeled them.  I examined where I'd been and why and reprioritized where I was going.  I laughed a bit.  But, there were far more tears.  Because change is painful.  It hurts.  Especially, when the walls of deception you've clung to are pulled down and you finally see things for what they truly are.  Then the safety net disappears and you realize, the only person who can save you, is you.

With a hell of a lot of effort and contemplation, I live a far more conscious life now.

The writing, the self publishing and the marketing (that I haven't even begun yet), that's all on me, it's all a gift that I gave myself.  To continue to grow and challenge myself.  Warning:  This book was an extremely selfish endeavor filled with self discovery.  Memoirs usually are.  You might be on a similar path.  You might not.  You might like what I have to say.  You might not.  That's entirely up to you, the reader.  Every single one of us is an armchair critic.

Ultimately, our critiques of others are simply fragments of our fears or our loves combined with our unique life experiences reflected back at us.


17 comments:

Stuart Nager said...

You're always going to have someone not like what many MANY others praise you for. It's everyone's own perceptions. Glad you see it for what it is: it didn't resonate with that particular person

The Loerzels said...

@ Stuart-I'm going to disagree. I believe it did resonate with this reader, a bit too much, and thus the guttural response. I think it just wasn't what he expected or wanted to hear. But, might be just what he needed to hear.

Abby said...

We can claim to be as impartial as we want, but it's nearly impossible to approach reading something or entering a situation without bringing our own bias and experiences into the realm of absorption. Projection is common, and it's important to remember that sometimes a comment isn't necessarily about you directly, but rather the way a situation is portrayed.

With that said, there are trolls. But there are also people with honest critiques. It's up to the reader to decide whose opinion they want to value the most. You take what you can from each comment-good or bad-and go from there.

Joy Page Manuel said...

You highlighted a very important point. That it is a memoir, hence needed to focus on YOU, your experiences, your lens.

Congratulations on being a born again imperfectionist. I imagine the process was anything but easy. However I am sure it was all worth it! I still have a long way to go.

Muriel Jacques said...

I think that it is impossible to please everybody anyway. And some people are never happy. At the end of the day, it is all about what you want your life to be, don't you think?

Thom Brown said...

I agree with your response to Stuart. Why is
'art' art. I don't know, but if it doesn't make you think or feel, it's probably not very good. You're an artist.

Late Bloomers said...

Hi, you card carrying born again imperfectionist formerly known as Marie! More than ever you have my fullest admiration for daring to be YOU. Your new identity will certainly rub off bad with some people and maybe there is a tiny little itsybitsy rest of Marie who'd still like to please everybody. The new you will know how to deal with that. And with this post you have already found a perfect way of expressing it.

Leah Griffith said...

I agree with you Marie, the "critic" reacted in an extremely emotional way and attacked you on a very personal level. Leaving a personally insulting review is mean and childish...I don't care how well spoken you are. With that said, onward and upward dear one. May your art and your heart be in agreement.
Love!

Jennifer Marotta said...

Marie, your memoir is exactly that - YOURS, and clearly not everyone will appreciate what you have to say as they look at it from their own point of view . Still, there are many more who will find alot of humor and truth in your adventures. I have found your book to be well written, funny and fascinating - clearly you are a brave person for embarking on these journeys - both the physical journey itself and the emotional ones. There are alot of things in it that I have been able to relate to, and I love the conversational tone that you use with your storytelling - I'm not done reading it yet, but I have loved it so far! :)

Penelope J said...

Marie, Like this blog in which you talk about the reasons behind writing this book and how writing it was an emotional catharsis for you. In a memoir you pour out your guts and when someone throws them back in your face that can be like a desecration of what you hold most dear. I know the feeling of shock, anger, and hurt when this happens. Three months ago, right when my book was about to be published, I received a pre-publication review that all but destroyed it. My publisher told me to look at it as constructive criticism, but I have not got over it enough to make revisions. First time authors like us need to develop thick skins as there are always going to be people out there who don't like and criticize our work.

The Loerzels said...

@ Abby-Writing this really helped me categorize it and move on!
@ Joy-And who would ever take my travel advice? I screw up every trip we've ever taken!
@ Muriel-Damn straight!
@ Thom- I can tell you I don't enjoy Kesha as an artist, but everytime I hear a song by her, I'm forced to reevaluate why. So Kesha wins the battle.
@ Barbara-This post put it to bed for me!
@ Leah- I love you!
@Jennifer-Thank you so much!
@ Penelope-As my husband says…"Well, I'm glad that's outta the way!"

Cerebrations.biz said...

Subjecting ourselves to criticism does not make us less of a perfectionist...Otherwise there would be even fewer with such aspirations...

Janine said...

You, Marie, are so admirable :)

The Loerzels said...

@Roy-Dammit…you're right!
@Janine-Wow! I don't think I've ever been that before.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

That reader could have made his points in one concise sentence. His rant is so emotional that it has to mean you hit on something very personal to him. I have ordered the book; looking forward to reading it. Hang in there.

The Loerzels said...

@BOG-Or her…
And thank you!

Janine said...

Theres a first for everything :) And I meant it.

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