I have very good friends.
This became evident during this past four-day stay-cation weekend. I had some paid days to burn off and decided to spend them questing a little further in search of feedback. It having occurred to me during that last fit of whining about it that I hadn't ever actually just, y'know, asked
people for some.
My first foray involved an LJ review site. After checking out some of their previous reviews, I applied with the pleasant assurance that they'd find me a step above the herd, at the least. No emo poetry on this
Ah, yeah. I'm still pretty proud of the 'no emo poetry' thing, no question, but - well, if you're reading this, chances are you know where we go from here. The general gist involved too much rambling, also a 'lack of interesting or engaging content', specifically the personal touch. I needed to take chances, to 'spill my guts'...or at least, something like the 'story of how you once almost got a tattoo on your right breast'.
(The best thing about the whole experience was actually Shoemom's failure to pick up the hypothetical there, when I asked her to read the review. "You did WHAT? On WHERE
Didn't help much in dealing with the criticism, though. The ensuing crisis of confidence, here @ Shoe Central, is when I developed a new theory of true friendship: it's what causes the people you run panicking to over bad reviews, instead of merely patting your hand and going "Mean ol'critic!', to instead take the time to gently-but-firmly point out that yes, you have flaws, but no, it's by no means the end of the world, let alone your writing career. Although you're right, nobody else cares about the damn comedy team already.
Look, the reason I don't get deep into the personal around here is pretty simple: The Shoe story
is just really, really boring,
with a side order of unpleasant. There is verbal abuse and depression and struggles with weight and nerdiness, and occasional existential crises, and that one nagging incident where memory tells me I saw an episode of a favourite TV series, I discovered later, about a year before it was actually frelling made
. (No, it doesn't hurt much, but it does make the Matrix flicks rather uncomfortable viewing.)
Outside the immediate region of my navel, there's also the part where the one Shoesis is a gorgeous slender blonde chick with so little self-esteem Shoemom and I have had to rescue her from no less than five total losers over the past few years... Eventually we'll have to get into the story of the one paternal uncle who's contrived to drive three wives to nervous breakdowns while accumulating five kids, and trust me, neither of us wants that.
Put bluntly, I am inclined both by nature and nurture to suck it up, princess. Even listing the above broad outlines gives me an uncomfortable sense of over-reaching both peoples' interest and sympathy. Thus - not un-naturally I'd thought - I've been treating my online life as a distraction from all that, trying to find topics much more interesting and engaging while treating of my personal life in a gentle, inconsequential fashion to avoid it intruding. I do believe this qualifies for both the orthodox and Alanis definitions of irony.
The other problem draws on from that one - I've been treating this blog as a writing project. Which is fine as far as it goes, but does leave me alarmingly dependent on the goodwill of audiences; as was gently-but-constructively brought home to me this weekend, you can't just leave your rough drafts lying around without people coming to the conclusion that they might as well wait until things get sorted out.
Especially when you're in as dire need of a firm-handed editor as I am. I do ramble hopelessly, I know that; albeit you'd be amazed at what I manage to take out. It doesn't help that my first taste of online writing success came in an environment (ie, TWoP-style Idol recaps) in which I was not only praised but encouraged
to be clever at length on multiple obscure topics. I came away from it with perhaps rather an inflated sense of myself as too precious for words.
So...I have some things to work on, and more to think about. I have to find a more suitable place for my essay-style pop-culture pieces, is what I think first of all. I do have some decent ideas in that direction. In the meanwhile...well, the people that have stuck around in some cases since the beginning, thanks. I now have a much clearer idea of how not to try your patience, as much. Although the comedy team may still be making occasional appearances...look, I don't get on your case about Dr Who, you leave me to Bob & Ray. And somehow we'll figure it all out.