Francis Meyrick

Bounce (3)

Posted on February 29, 2008

(This story was originally written for “Writer’s Cafe “. It was in response to some really intolerant nastiness, which was causing disruptions and bitterness. There were and are many good people on the Cafe. But there also some hate mongerers, who were bringing the site into disrepute. I left eventually, after some really horrendous hate mail, and with a feeling that I was not able to create in the sort of calm atmosphere I was looking for. I re-post the story, not so much as a “look behind “, but rather more as a “look ahead “.
I’m hoping we can stay friends on the Harbor…)

Bounce (3)

A good humored rant about ‘reviewers’, ‘incipient puberty trips’, ‘garbage’, ‘verbiage’ and ‘connectivity’

A recent thread in the forum got real bitter.
That saddened me. It’s not good. What do “guests ” think? That we’re all a bunch of jumped up spoiled prima donnas? Yes, you should be able to offer an opinion. But if it degenerates into public bitterness, then we all lose. Intolerance is a strange thing. Have you ever noticed how those who are the first to scream “intolerance “, or “prejudice “, are also those who seem, in their writing and attitudes, to…. you get my point?
Reviewers are important. They are also rightnot even remotely always right. But they need intelligent encouraging, not abusive castigation.

It seems to me….
that reviewers that actually review, as in criticize constructively, as opposed to those who write the equivalent of:
“Yeah, dude, thas was, so….nice, man…way to go… “

…are in short supply. Lotsa writers, too few “guests “, and way too few “reviewers “. Pity the honest, helpful, sympathetic reviewer.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d much, much rather have a review that simply said: “I liked this… “, than no review at all. When you look at a story with 55 views and not a single review, you wonder if you maybe wrote it in Greek or Ancient Hebrew or something…
Did I leave my fly open, or what…
But sometimes, people need to stand up for art. Stand up for the love of English. Stand up for… real writing. As opposed to some kind of incipient puberty trip.
I tried one day, in a good-humored, joking way, with a particularly smutty, immature, overtly sadistic piece advocating cruelty to women, from a popular WritersCafe writer. At least, lots of reviews from what Montilee Stormer calls the “rabid fans “. I received a furious, hate spitting e-mail from said ‘writer’, with an abusive “comment “. I was invited, no, commanded to stay “the hell away ” from “his ” site.

I tried. I shall not try again.
I had this thought. But I didn’t e-mail it. I didn’t want to cause…bitterness. An angry fight.
It didn’t seem right for me to say:

“Stay…in your tiny, small minded, dubious smelling Narcissus pool of introverted self admiration. Surround yourself with those who swoon at every syllable, and post hero worshipping on-their-knees salutations. Convince yourself that you are a writer. Or, as you would say, fucking good. And fucking perfect, God’s gift to women and the world. Go take some more drugs. Convince yourself that your spelling errors, your grammar goblins, and your thematic wanderings are in fact art. Convince yourself that we are all shocked by your crudity. As you know, we were all raised in monasteries. Most of us are virgins. We have never had sex. This is our first rodeo. So, yeah, you shock us by describing your penis.
Is that what that is…? Wow….
What….is your really drab view of the female body about? To you, is it merely a pleasure device for your torture fantasies? Go, get laid a whole bunch of times, get a nice girl friend, and grow up. Then come back, my friend, and write some more… “

No, it didn’t seem write to say anything like that, so I didn’t. I like peace. I’m tired of fighting. Been through enough wars… I just… kicked it into touch.
Sighed philosophically. And moved on. I’ve done that a lot in my little life.
Sometimes, reviewing, in the broad sense, reviewing Life..., is no fun at all.

My point: Honest reviewers…
…are the writers’ best friend. Writers like Edmund Jonah, Montilee Stormer and Crystalwizard, to mention but a few, are not always the most popular. They say what they think, with some demonstrated skills of their own to back up the validity of their verbal clout. They will, unavoidably, on occasions, give you the literary equivalent of the back-hander review, the…
…treatment, as they come flying at you with a springloaded reviewer Karate kick.
Right on the chin…
Ouch! You son of a …..@#!!#!!
On these occasions, it us good for us ordinary mortals, us humble drivers of a working class pen, not to take offense. We don’t all write with a guilded tip to our pen…

Sure, sometimes…. these negative reviews are, to put it diplomatically, full of “shite “. You read it, chuckle, and let it go at that. Often enough, some other reader, who would not have left a comment, feels a need to jump in and protest the validity of your case for you. Now you can sit on the sidelines, with maybe a nice cup of tea, and snigger quietly to yourself as one sympathetic reviewer dukes it out on your behalf with the protagonist. It can get quite heated in this kind of bar brawl, and you, lucky writer, you are now able to pull up a comfortable stool to the bar, sip your pint of Guinness, and watch Homo Sapiens after so many thousands of years of cultural development, still going at it with bare fists and teeth… It gets amusing when you know you’ve stirred the pot once again. After all, you wrote the blessed thing, didn’t you? You…troublemaker!

Sometimes… you sit back and you think… he’s got a point!
Now your writer’s brain ticks over a little faster. It’s as if the reviewer has given you another vantage point, another observation plateau, from which to look down on yourself…
T.O’Neal, well worth a visit, if you haven’t met the feller, offers some quiet little insights in that soft spoken way of his. We had an interesting exchange of e-mails on various subjects. He was one writer who gave me a different place, from which I could observe…
that fellow down there…. that weird dude….ME…!
He said that at times I lost him. Lost you…?
What do you mean, I lost you…?
There followed more e-mails, which suddenly give me this interesting perspective from another writer’s point of view:
Too much verbiage…
I formed this mental impression of this ‘mad painter’, me, flinging vast quantities of paint at the canvas with a trowel. Throwing words with an intensity, a passion, a burning desire to express the Muse, an overwhelming craving to…
Get my point? Perhaps, Francis an excess verbiage problem…
He liked the story about ‘Our little….Pussycat’. Which was actually a goose…
That was a gentle story. Without the same clash of cymbals, the roll of the drums,and the mighty orator shaking his fists at the skies…
Nah. A nice story...
He talked about “telling the story as if you were telling it to a friend “. I could see his point. He does that, in many of his stories. A gentle, rambling, good natured, funny-in-a dry-sort-of-way come and listen, and I’ll tell you a story
He also talked about his “voice “. And I know what he means there.
For me, interesting stuff. Made me think I should try and vary my “voices “, and maybe write more “Pussycat ” style stories…
Maybe sometimes go for a little more simplicity, Francis. How about sometimes putting aside the trowel, and trying an artist brush? Eh, Francis?
Which takes me to my friend Moonlight… She who can wield a mighty fine artist’s brush when she feels like it…
All of this can be ‘bottomlined’ if you refer it to the concept of “connectivity “.
T.O’Neal has great “connectivity “. People that warm to his style. Repeat readers.
He’s got something…
That of course is not to equate “good writing ” in direct proportion to numbers of “hits “.
But, we needn’t worry, Montilee Stormer already took care of that problem, by her withering comment about “rabid fans “.

Well, I hope I stirred the pot a little. If you’re fucking mad at me, feel free to e-mail me. I shall doff my cap, bow my head, put on the the most penitent expression I can muster, and I promise faithfully to listen to your point of view. I don’t want us to be bitter, or twisted with each other, but I’ll happily listen… if you are willing, rationally, nicely, to tell me why you think I’m wrong.
And if I do chuckle…. I’ll do it quietly. How’s that?


Last edited by Francis Meyrick on February 29, 2008, 4:55 pm

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