Such a total crock of shit.
Last night at my writer’s workshop where we all critique each others’ work, we had an “incident”. Now, I’m certain these incidents have happened before and they will happen again, but this one somehow stuck in my craw.
I will not name names to protect the innocent people who were involved, but if you were in our group last night, you know what happened.
There are different kinds of people who go to workshops (no duh, right?). You have the people who go to really get their work looked at with a scrutinous eye, people who go to network, people who go to help others with their work, people who just like to hear other people read, people who need inspiration, and people who FOR THE LIFE OF ME I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY GO.
These people read their little 10-15 pages of work, and then sit back and listen to the critiques. Now, I firmly believe that we all at the table have a responsibility to give good, honest feedback. It’s why we are there. I am not going to hold someone’s hand and tell him his stuff was good if it sucked sweaty balls that are stuck to the side of his leg. I don’t have it in me. If I can’t find some real good honest feedback to give other than, “Man that stank like cat dookie with corn in it.” I typically don’t say anything. Sometimes I will pipe up when there is a scene that really grabs me or really throws me into the story. If a writer does a great job with one part, but the other part blows, I will tell them that too. Hey, it’s all MY OPINION, right? They can take it or f**king leave it. And if they don’t want to take it, why would I give a good hot crap? (man, a lot of scat in this blog…somewhere, Shawna is smiling) I don’t. If something I said bothered you, perhaps you should look at your story or even better–at your DAMN self–to figure out why that feeling is creeping up your spine–why my words got you hot under the collar. Cause it aint my words, it’s something else.
So last night, after the crit session was over, and we were on break, the writer who had just read jumped into the middle of all of us and practically condemned us for heresy! We were trying to change his voice! HEAVEN FORFEND! And when one person manned up and asked, “Do you really think I am trying to change your voice?” the first person just said they didn’t want to argue. (Yeah, I know I am using they instead of he or she…but fuce.) The first person then said, “I’m not trying to change your voice, I’m trying to offer feedback. You can take what I say or throw it out the window.” (All of this is not verbatim.)
Then the conversation quickly took a dive for the dirt. I extricated myself and went over to talk to some other writers about their stories.
Now, the deal is, the person getting upset had (in this writer’s humble opinion) no right to say one f**king thing to anyone. His story needed a ton of work, and he got IMMEDIATELY defensive when we started hacking on him about it. (In a nice way! We weren’t mean or shitty to him). This writer human is one above who I think doesn’t even need to come to a crit group. Why would he? He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say. A friend on twitter last said something about calling a parent’s baby ugly. I agree, that’s what it is–but THIS F**CKER CAME ON HIS OWN! He doesn’t have to come to see us and let us critique his work. He can stay home and he can read his own shit to his damn self. (Yeah, I’m a little pissed about this) No one forces him to come and let others critique his work. Stupid. Look, in all seriousness, it hurts when others slam on your writing. It cuts deep, but let’s be realistic, if you want to get better, you better (ha WORD ECHO!) learn how to take the criticism. And if it gets you pissed off, then why are you putting yourself through this? Why come to a critique group when you think everyone else has zero to offer you and none of them know what they are talking about? Do us all a favor and skip it. By being at the group, you’re not helping yourself or us by bringing in such a shit attitude. We are coming together to help each other and to meet other like-minded people who want to LEARN. If you’ve already learned everything there is to know about the written word…stay away.