Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I have mentioned conversations I have had in person regarding this very blog. I tend to receive from them positive responses or promises to check it out. From one person have I gotten an unqualified rejection, but anyone else who cared to share something that wasn't purely a compliment was good enough to make it constructive and accompany it with some mention of what I am doing well. This is something we learn to do in Toastmasters, and I'm glad to see that out in the wastelands of unstructured, un-academic communication, others know how to do it. The unfortunate thing is that when someone offers well-reasoned, helpful criticism, I'm unable to disregard it entirely. I feel I'm not too bad at taking it. It has been said that this is the case, or I would not avow it to be myself.

The thing is that you can only unreservedly reject mixed or negative feedback when the person giving it has absolutely no tether to reality, or when it's not a person at all, but a dog or inanimate object (in which case it's really you who is losing touch with reality). Otherwise, every single thing you hear about your efforts has meaning. I may consider a person who has something negative to say about my writing to be too unintelligent for what I write, or just not the right kind of reader, but what they have to say is significant, and I'm a fool if I don't try to glean something from that. People don't just say things: there's a motivation behind every expression, and if there's at least a perception by some of a flaw in my work, I try to figure out why, and whether there's something I can do or should do. I don't listen to dogs or doorknobs, but that's all.

More reputable contributors of opinion get a more patient hearing from this writer, particularly when they say things I've already heard. Cumulatively, it all paints quite a picture. Here's the tough part. Such unanimity speaks loudly, and yet I struggle to see things from that point of view. I know there must be truth in it. To ignore it would be at my own peril, and so I do acknowledge it. Now, changes can't be made on the basis of every comment that comes in. This isn't a Wiki-Blog, and much criticism conflicts with other criticism. That brings me to my strategy for this kind of thing. It takes critical thinking. Everything must be weighed, and some things will prove to be more worthy of consideration than others. On some things I must stick to my guns, but on others I must bow to greater wisdom. Which are which? Well, I'll take a small step towards addressing one reasonable criticism by concluding today's post here, leaving it a bit shorter that it would otherwise have been. We shall see what is wrought by greater brevity.

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