✒ WWP — Week 5: Writers on Writing

Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review, it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumor that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? Was he ever arrested for burglary?
— Jean Kerr

Jean Kerr is an American author, best known for her humorous novel Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, published in 1957. Some critics wrote off Kerr’s musings on family life as trite, but the public didn’t agree. Her book became a bestseller, a movie, and a popular television series.

Although Kerr is jesting about doing a background check on the infuriating critic, her point is valuable. Have a sense of balance about the role of the critic, whether it’s your local librarian, a review in a newspaper, or a friend.

One of the values of all artistic endeavours is that its evaluation is subjective. When French artist Claude Monet first unveiled his Impressionist works, they were widely panned. Now, history has proved his artwork to be of the master class: it’s beloved and regarded as exceptionally well executed. Andy Warhol’s pop art masterpieces, including his soup can paintings, were met with scoffs by many who felt the paintings were nothing more than commercial bunk. Wrong again. The paintings, now, grace the walls of many major art museums and sell for tens of millions of dollars. If you receive a less-than-glowing review, keep calm, carry on, and consider the source.

One word for mastery: Consistency.


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