Sticks and stones

(Crossposted from Silk And Shadows
This week: Good and bad reviews)

My XY, a musician, is a champion heckler.  His theory is that since the audience shows up with money in one hand, they’re allowed — even obliged — to threateningly heft a proverbial rotten tomato in the other hand.  Comic Auggie Smith out of Portland, Oregon, made an equally painful observation about working artists when he said (I’m paraphrasing here) “It’s not a healthy thing that I go out every night seeking the approval of strangers.”

Yeowch.  Don’t we get any credit for sharing?  At least writers, unlike comics and musicians, perform at a polite (or should I say safe?) distance.   Thanks to the dubious miracle of Google Alerts, however, you can be instantly informed whenever anyone says anything about you.  It’s the high-tech version of “your ears must be burning.”  No, just my inbox and my ulcer.

Google Alerts is how I received the first — and so far only — review of my debut novel.  For maximum effect, do note that my book doesn’t come out until October and no one has received any advanced copies yet.  The review was this:

Meh.

review

Yeah, that was it.  Meh.  That faintly — but only faintly — damning analysis of my pweshus work was based on the Publishers Weekly one-sentence recap of recent transactions in bookworld.  Sob.

The urge to reach out and connect is intrinsic to humanity, I think, and part of the secret to our survival.  To be rebuffed, ignored or reviled is to be denied our very existence, to be banished from the tribe, where we will surely starve.

Hmm, that comes off a touch melodramatic, not to mention self-pitying.  So I should also share the best review I’ve ever received for a work-in-progress:

More, more, we want more!

Isn’t that sweet?  It was from my mom.  Tragically, moms are not to be trusted as book reviewers.  Although I love the idea of an all-mom review site.  They could do their rating system in mom-code:

Hotness scale:
Sexy = “I suppose I could let my of-age daughter read this.”
Smokin’ = “No way am I letting my mother read this!”
Erotica = “Really?”

Quality:
Great book = “I’ll call my book club about this one!”
Okay book = “I’ll pass this one to my sewing circle.”
Terrible book = “Well, at least you tried. I’m sending you cookies.”

There could also be a mom-based music review site:

Great album = “Look, I brought my own custom earplugs!”
Okay album = “Iron Butterfly had a drum solo almost that long.”
Terrible album = “You could play at weddings! Have a cookie.”

Ah well, cookies are better than rotten tomatoes.  What’s your comfort/celebration food?

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