I’m not sure I spelled the technique right, but here it goes…
I’m not sure I spelled the technique right, but here it goes…
Does anyone remember this guy? I do.
Anyway, the topic for today is criticism: when to accept it and when to ignore it.
One thing the internet has done is allowed everyone in the world to put a paper bag over their head (like our friend in the picture) and be a critic, although I use the term loosely there. People can hide in their caves and hurl insults at anything they want. They don’t have to be authorities on the topic or even know the tiniest detail about it.
In my opinion, these are the type who need to be ignored. Look at it this way: I post videos of myself doing my wing chun forms all the time. Should I take a comment like “you suck” to heart, especially when it comes from someone with the user name Dookie Teeth? And if DT is such a wing chun expert, where are THEIR videos? What I’m saying here is that not every negative comment counts as TRUE criticism.
Sometimes there is a gray area where it seems like someone has a valid statement to make, but they really don’t. EXAMPLE: Recently a woman named Leslie gave me her “critique” on my novel THE SIZE CURSE. This was her grand statement: “I think you should trash it because it’s ridiculous.”
Now keep in mind the back story to this person: I gave her the story 4-5 years ago to read. She told me that she had indeed read it and had written up two pages’ worth of notes of ideas and suggestions. She said she had actually typed the notes up, but then someone stole her laptop. I presented a grand solution to her: how about I call and you just dictate the notes to me? Well, this was met with no reply.
Time went on. LOTS of time. Every now and then I would ask her what was going on. She said she hadn’t had the time to type the notes out. Meanwhile, my dictation suggestion went unanswered. On top of that, I was friends with this person on Facebook. Apparently she forgot that, all while she was saying she didn’t have “time” to type the notes, she was posting pictures of her FUCKING CATS at least every ten minutes. It’s not that she didn’t have time; she just didn’t care.
Honestly, I don’t even count what she said as a criticism. I chalk it up to personal bias. Am I really supposed to let a reason like “it’s ridiculous” make me lose confidence in the story? Hardly. Another throwaway critique that she said was, “Not a lot of people will like this story.” First of all, I knew that going into it. Second, how does she know what everyone (or even most people) will like?
So what kind of criticism SHOULD we take seriously? First of all, our own. For years now I have written stories with my own intuition as my guide. To that end I have NEVER finished a story if I thought it sucked. Second, if a criticism has actual substance. Not just “it sucks” or “it’s ridiculous.” I’ll take the word of the editors of CONCEIT MAGAZINE over someone who took 4-5 years to get their comments to me. Guess those cat pictures were more important.
In closing, let me put it this way: sometimes you have to critique the critic before you can take their words seriously.
For the longest time, there was a section of my novel THE SIZE CURSE that I thought read like filler. However, I did not know what to replace it with. (And yes, replacing it was mandatory or else the story would no longer be novel-length.) Recent events made me realize what I could do to correct this situation.
Please, people, do NOT once again miss the entire point of this blog. The stories I share are just supporting evidence of my main thesis, which is that an act as simple as telling someone you like them has been turned into a convoluted mess by the general population. THAT is the focus…not the specific examples themselves.
Last summer I became single again. Honestly, I didn’t wait too long (maybe a month) before I tried dating. I met this artsy woman who seemed to have a lot of the same thoughts and values I did, so I said, “We’re on the same wavelength so often. I like you.” Maybe a week later she said she was “uncomfortable” with the speed at which I was moving. (Because, you know…telling someone you like them when you met them THROUGH A DATING SITE is completely out of left field, isn’t it?) Shortly after that, we were done talking.
A few weeks later I got another woman’s number at a bar. My friend said, “Wait until Monday to contact her. You don’t want to look desperate or like you have too much free time.”
I went on a handful of other dates where I found myself having these paranoid thoughts: “Did I say too much? Too little? Was that joke offensive? Am I coming off as needy? Do they know I am censoring myself? If so, what do they think of that?”
And what was the most common thing that I would censor? Saying anything related to what I thought of them, ESPECIALLY if it involved any sentiment about liking them.
I don’t understand this. People say an admission like that scares them off for various reasons. It’s too intense/forward or, most bizarre of all, too “needy.” Forgive me, but how in the world does saying “I like you” translated to “I’m needy?” That makes no sense.
I do get the whole “too intense” thing. Saying you like them is just too honest, and most people can’t handle honesty. That’s because most people are spineless, cowardly, whiny little shits who prefer communicating through insinuation instead of actually SAYING something real.
I’m not the bravest person in the world, but if I go out on a date and there is no chemistry, I’ll say so instead of stringing people along. Unfortunately, most people aren’t like that. They somehow think it’s NICER to give someone false hope. (“Oh yeah, we’ll hang out again…just not sure when because I’m busy every night for the next FIVE YEARS!!!”)
Fuck that. As is often the case with a lot of my blogs lately, the conclusion I have reached here is that I can’t control what others do. All I can do is NOT be like that. Just continue being my honest self. Those who like it will stick around; those who don’t can take a hike.
Once again, I don’t feel like typing out the transcript for this video. Does this hurt my SEO? Maybe, but I am just not in the mood for it and cannot force myself to be.
WARNING!!!! Sexually explicit content in this post. In fact, it is so explicit that I am not even going to type out the transcript.
Five bonus points to anyone who knows what song my title parodies. HINT: It’s not the title of the song, but rather a particular line of lyrics.
My wife and I have been separated since last summer. Not long after the split occurred, a friend encouraged me to put myself right back out on the singles scene via websites like OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish. For a while I was trying to make it work, but it was rough. It got so bad that even the friend who TOLD me to get out there said, “Maybe you need to give it a rest…be alone for a while.”
I did not heed his warning. Kept chugging along, getting my ego handed back to me in pieces for one reason or another. After a while, Sifu Russ Cichon also chimed in on this topic. He told me to make wing chun my “girlfriend” and ignore everyone else for at least a year. He said, “You’ll be amazed at what a difference it will make.”
I still didn’t listen. Then, finally, something made me slam on the brakes. This deal sealer was unlike anything I’d faced before. It was not a woman who flat out said she felt no chemistry, nor was it one who said “we will go out again,” then never called back. Quite the opposite. THIS woman said, “I feel very comfortable talking to you. I feel like I can tell you anything, and you won’t judge me. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still cautious, but I am VERY optimistic.”
She said this to me on a Friday night. I can still remember falling asleep with a grin on my face.
The next day was an unusually hectic Saturday. I was rushing around nonstop with my kids. It wasn’t until around 2:00PM that I finally had the chance to sit down and text her: “Hey lady, been on the go all day here. Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday!”
The rest of the day went by without a word from her. On Sunday night, I decided to drop another quick note: “Hello there! Never got to touch base with you yesterday. Hope you had an awesome weekend!”
Another day of no reply. I could not understand it. Normally I can let go of rejection, but not in a situation like this where the sudden brush-off made no sense.
I knew that my next move was going to come off as obsessive, but I said “fuck it.” I NEEDED to know what happened. If she blew me off again, then I’d be done. But I had to make one last effort.
What was my plan? I decided to message her on OK Cupid, which is where I had met her. This was a better option than texting because I could tell when she had read my message. If she didn’t reply, then I would give up. So all I said to her through the site was, “What happened to you???”
Then I stepped away from the computer. Did some writing. Played some guitar. Practiced my wing chun forms. Exercised. Come back an hour later. And what did I find?
She read the message maybe five minutes after I sent it.
There was no reply.
I was not surprised, but I was not okay with it either. This made no sense! (I realized people rarely do, but that was no comfort.) The last conversation with her had ended so well. What happened? It was obvious I wouldn’t get an answer, so I had to let it go. No point in staying angry about it, right? Her choice was made. Whether it made any sense or not was irrelevant.
And that was it, ladies and gentlemen: the moment when I decided it was time to withdraw from the “singles” race. The rules of this game make no sense to me. Even when I won, I lost.
So I’m pleased to announce that I have been much happier ever since I let it go. It’s so refreshing to no longer deal with having my hopes lifted so high…only to be dropped to their doom. When a woman said we had no chemistry, I could accept that. But this? No, it was beyond my comprehension.
Another thing this last interaction made me reflect on was how hopeless it is for me. I mean, I’m 38 with four kids by three women. Anyone who dives into a romantic relationship with me has to accept the fact that they will automatically be a stepmom. And not for nothing, but if they have no kids of their own and want any, then they are also SOL with me because I got myself “fixed,” and I don’t plan on reversing that EVER. Four kids (two boys, two girls) is enough for me.
Like Sifu and my friend said, it’s better for me to take some time and be by myself. I am diving head first into wing chun again. Maybe when I examined things a year from now, I’ll find I AM in a better place. Here’s to hoping Sifu was right.