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A review any writer would hope to get

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Steven Lopata has said some very nice things about Lifelode. I’ve said before what a good writer Jo Walton is, so i’m not surprised. What i identified with, as a writer, is what she said about this review.

This person read the book I hoped I’d written.

That’s what we’re all after, isn’t it, whether we’re writing fiction or non-fiction or poetry, films or plays – or creating art of any kind? While it’s great that each reader (viewer/whatever) brings to a piece of work their own perceptions, and takes away their own interpretation, and therefore each person reads a different story (just as each person attends a different party)… and it doesn’t matter that they find substance in our work that’s different from what we thought we were putting into it, in fact that’s one of the great, organic, exciting things about being artists… still it’s really great when someone actually gets what you did think you meant.

Hope someone made it to the end of that sentence. Should i crumble it into smaller pieces?

Anyway, in the earlier blogpost about Jo Walton, i was talking about the way sf/f gets dismissed by many people as lightweight, with a kind of snobbery born of ignorance rather than (i like to think) arrogance. I now know i was guilty of the same shortcut-thinking when it came to horror. As i have found out, there’s the trashy stuff, and the high literature. The same with the romance genre, there’s Mills & Boon and then there’s Rebecca and Jane Eyre. Sorry, i don’t know any more modern romance – seems i’m guilty with regard to romance too! And you can’t judge all action movies by Steven Seagal. Anyway, the public forms its opinion based on the higher-profile, more commercial, and less intellectually snob-worthy potboilers, but the good stuff is out there nevertheless. Bit like inspirational speakers, i suppose.

It happens in the other direction as well. Many people don’t try Shakespeare, Dickens, classical music, anything they see as ‘above them’ or ‘difficult’. It’s because they have only seen these things from a distance.

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