I was asked, “how do you react to negative reviews?”
My best answer is I don’t react to reviews at all, regardless if they are positive or negative. I think if you allow your artistic instincts to emerge and you share them with the general public, you have to expect and realize some people will not like your creation.
Think about it this way, consider you are a stand-up comedian, now think about standing in those socks. You are all alone, center stage, and it is just you and the audience. Your job is to cause that audience to laugh. And you the comedian get an instant review, either the audience laughs or they don’t. If I’m in the audience, and the comedian bombs, I get a sick feeling, and I want to give the artist a hug and say, “let it go, keep trying.” I think everybody needs words of encouragement. I think those are the inflection points where our true ‘faith’ steps forward. A kind, compassionate word can literally alter a life.
I think it take immense courage to at least ‘try’, to try anything, to be an actor, comedian, painter, whatever artistic bent you have and then choose to share it. I respect anyone who tries and fails at any career or life choice. At that point, when you are down on your knees begging for mercy, my best thought is, give them a hug, and say, ‘get up, keep trying’. However, if you are a heckler, if you bully someone who is down on their luck, I think you are a coward.
I knew before I published Fishing for Light, and for that fact my first novel, Bobby’s Socks that they would not be for everyone. If you want to share art for the masses for money, and fame, go be my guest. But be careful what you wish for – as the saying goes – because in this modern age of social media, faceless, thoughtless people do bully, and do write nasty remarks without having to add their real name. I think legitimate criticism is fair game, and I think an artist can learn from those responses how to better craft their message.
The reason I went down this path today, I continue to read about human beings that take their lives after being bullied. If you have read Bobby’s Socks, you would realize that the trauma marks a persons genetic instructions, it attacks, and weakens their ‘stress genes’.
I know what if feels like to be abused, I know what if feels like to grow up with a bully, and to think about taking my life. And that is the reason I write, and share my thoughts. I hope my writing and sharing will encourage someone else to simply, try. I think every human being on this planet should be treated with respect, and kindness even though we may not understand their life choices. I promise if you at least try something that others might think a risk, it will be the instant you will feel – alive.