The Power of Praise

photo posted on www.post-gazette.comNote to self number thirty: Patience is a virtue. Don’t forget it.

Remember that film, ‘Field of Dreams’? There was a great line in it somewhere that went something like, ‘build it and he will come.’ I don’t know why it has always stuck with me; I never wanted to build a sports stadium (even if I did, I couldn’t afford it) and have the ghosts of soccer legends come around for a kick-about in my back yard – even if it would be pretty cool.

In my (sometimes) tenuous way of making links, I’m equating Ray Kinsella’s baseball park to my books. Not so much build it and he will come, as, write them and they will read (especially if they are free). That’s not meant to sound as arrogant as it might come across. I just have absolute faith in my writing and my books to do a job at a certain level.

I feel strongly that what I write is not awful. That it is readable. That it works in its genre. That it’s not full of holes. I believe that it can provide an enjoyable reading experience. I don’t hope for more than that. Yet.

So, I wrote them and I put them out there (two of them at present) and I watched and I waited. And, lo, the downloads did begin to accumulate and still I waited for what I craved most – feedback (see earlier posts for why). And now that has begun to trickle in. And I was not mentally prepared for the experience of receiving them; I had not sought to ready myself for what I would feel about, how I might deal with, reading the comments of strangers regarding my creative output. I had no idea how truly moving that was going to prove. I am finding it emotionally disturbing (in a good way). Really.

There have only been a few comments – I couldn’t claim to be inundated, swamped. And people are not exactly raving psychotically about my writing; no one is nominating me for literary awards, but people are being positive, encouraging and helpful. People are commenting, saying nice things, taking the time and trouble to let me know what they think and I am just overwhelmed by that little experience. I wonder if I might be a little unstable to be thinking like that. Maybe I’ve just been working too hard lately.

I suppose that, if I’m taking something specific from this little episode in the grand scheme of my self-publishing it is that one should never underestimate the potential effect of what other people are going to say about what one does. People who say that they couldn’t care less are lying. I have had something that I already knew, but had largely forgotten about, reaffirmed: praise on any level can be deeply affecting. Believe that.  

What will I do if someone pans me? How will I deal with that? Probably, what I did to the guy who took my parking space – he doesn’t park there anymore. I don’t think that he even owns a car these days. There wouldn’t be much point.

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