Last night I received a Facebook note from a friend letting me know how much she liked my blog. She said that she isn’t much of a reader, but liked my posts so much and was inspired by my stuff to actually go out and get some books to read. Something she hasn’t done since school.
I was beyond thrilled that I was able to reach someone in this way, and so profoundly.
And then I was so incredibly emotional.
Except for writing in journals about my children and their milestones, and then a couple of love letters to my dear hubby before we married, I haven’t written a thing since university.
In fact before university even ended.
I actually went to university for writing. That was my major. But I was blasted and put down in the critiquing part of all my writing classes. In fact, it wasn’t constructive criticism. It was brutal. This was stuff I had poured my heart into. I was leery enough about letting others read it, and then to have it treated like a piece of garbage was heart-breaking.
How could I let that get me down? How could I let some strangers’ comments keep me from doing something I loved?
I wonder how my parents felt when I told them I wanted to change majors. I felt so defeated.
Did they feel it too? They must have wracked their brains trying to figure out what in the world I was thinking, what I was going through.
I wonder how I would feel if one of my boys told me that they didn’t have the heart anymore to do something they loved. Something they had a passion for. Because someone told them they shouldn’t. That they sucked at it. I hope they wouldn’t listen. If it’s something they absolutely love, I hope they go for it and don’t stop (and don’t let anyone tell them to stop) until they succeed at whatever it is they want to do.
Instead of writing, I went into art history. Oh yeah, they were knocking my door down with that degree! In Calgary. In the early ’90’s…
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret a minute of my art history. I loooooved it. Everything about that department I loved. I loved university. I loved the whole experience.
And it has helped me tremendously whenever I’m making chicken nugget for my children, wiping snotty noses and having to hook up video games. Where would I be without my degree?
I’m totally kidding. I don’t regret it at all. It has helped me get incredible jobs in the past and hopefully one day I’ll be able to get another job (once the Mum Dumb passes)…
But with changing my major oh so long ago, I sometimes wonder how things could have turned out if I had listened to my critiques. And if I had changed things with my writing, and persevered.
Was it even something I wanted to do that badly if I gave it up after two years of trying? I think I gave it an honest try. Could I have tried harder? Probably. I obviously didn’t improve too much over two years, because the bad reviews continued to flood in with all my writing assignments.
How can you even judge writing? Isn’t it like art? Does someone look at a Monet and say, ‘wow, he really shoulda used less green in there. Couldn’t it be more realistic?’…
Does someone go to a dance recital and criticize how the music is interpreted? I guess so. Probably.
No matter what, there are critics whatever you do.
My favourite kind of critic is the one who comes to an office party or school party or community party (I looove parties!). And these kinds of things are usually organized by a bunch of volunteers.
Whose the nimrod with something negative to say? The one who didn’t lift a finger to help, and never does.
I love those kinds of critics. They kill me. What a bunch of poops. Does anyone even take them seriously? How can you hate a party? It’s a party – you make your own fun. If you have a rotten time, isn’t it a little bit on you? Just a tad?
Oh boy, I gossip about those critics. But my gossip is a good, uplifting kind of gossip. Putting the positive out there.
That’s what I like to think.
It isn’t at all true. But I still like to think it.
Anyhoo. I’m sure I’ll encounter more critics in my lifetime. And I just hope I have the strength of character as I near 40 to endure the negativity and get past it and continue to do things I love.
Besides, if I can handle listening to the griping and groaning I have to put up with every night at the dinner table when I put food in front of my three boys, I can take on anything else a measly adult can hand me.