“Let me listen to me and not to them.” So said Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) in Stanza VII from Stanzas in Meditation (1932).
Having read Stanza 7, I must admit I have no idea what she is talking about. Not do I care to write out the whole stanza for you to meditate on. My purpose here is to extract the quoted line above for another purpose.
Now that it is standing alone, does it not reflect “To thine own self be true.” That quote comes from Polonius, father of Ophelia, in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Polonius also said, “Neither borrower nor a lender be.” Makes one wonder if Gertrude decided to borrow from Polonius and rewrite the line to say the same thing.
Not a problem as all writers borrow and rewrite. Why am I bringing all this up? As Polonius also said, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.” In other words, ones you have no doubt heard, “There is madness to my methods.” Or is it, “There is methods to my madness.”
Anyway. . .
My method is to quote those with sage advice. If you are a writer then write what pleases you, not what please others. You will write much better when writing what drives you to write in the first place. At this point I could quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Inner peace begins with yourself, which again indicates you should write what you love to write. If you write for yourself, within yourself, you will have peace. I said I could quote Emerson, but he also said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” If Emerson didn’t like quotations, he should have kept quiet.
So Mr. Emerson, I will tell you what I know. That being it is difficult for a writer, or any creative person, to receive criticism, to believe the negativity, to read the bad, or mediocre reviews. But remember there are many opinions and any creative person will get good and bad reviews. The key point of this brief dissertation is that reviews always reflect the reviewer, not the reviewed. The reviewer reflects his bias, his bent, his slant, his view of things, so if his sense of humor is different than the authors, if his world view is different than the authors, than a bad review is forthcoming.
I shall close with my favorite quote, not from a writer, but a bird, “Quoth the Raven, nevermore!”