© 2009 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
” Defects identified and confirmed offer the writer a wonderful opportunity to expand, correct, and purify the premise or works as may be required.”
Critique: As it is Written, Come What May
It may be suggested that writers realize not what they write at times, particularly if the raison d’etre of the article, inspiration, comes from the muse within, from unrealized exterior sources, from bias, faith, or from God himself.
Perhaps some works are derived too easily from the imagination. Hail the dark, hidden, smouldering anger of misconception. Write of everything, write of panic, fear, and chronic misunderstanding. Record perceived travesty, memorize vibrations from the past, shiver in trepidation deep within the unknown dungeon of the mind from whence the echo of chains rattle eerily across the chasm of time, –but write.
The fact is, writers may not know from where the words come within the mind, in the universe or outside of it. Writers do write, –often inexplicably. Alarmingly to some, they also become critiqued inexplicably.
Regardless of source, and attributable or not to any specific event, person, or thought, –when written, –order, thought, and timely reason is applied to life’s eternal chaos in a prescribed manner conceived by the writer alone.
Instinctively, writers place thoughts, ideas, creations, impressions, and societal concerns in a statement of order designed and dictated by a personal singular whim; at times without choice or logic. In times of weakness, we may yield to a specific or trendy societal bent, a historical event, a negative influence, the interactions of individuals or a societal happening. We may limit an individual perception of universal order to the precise moment of inception of an idea, incorrectly or not.
Universal synchronicity or repetition in history may not be evident, or of simply no concern to us at the time of writing, in spite of the fact that the old adage “there is nothing new under the sun” comes to mind.
The written word therefore often comes under criticism, even under vicious fire because a writer’s style, methodology, the words themselves, or fragmented ideas used and perhaps not even completely understood may incite confusion, anger, fear, and angst.
They may also create, happiness, love, joy, or the deepest depression or sorrow. An effective writing style may not even evolve or mature in the process, for writing is what it is; and writing is ” as it is written.”
The resulting scribed and often precious work of art may be entirely unrelated to any template, thought, work, model of order or logic previously expressed or perceived. Notably it also may not be appreciated and understood by a reader or critic.
A critique of any writing may be essentially limited and compared directly and solely to the critic’s beliefs , sensibilities, appreciation of premise and sense of order. An arbitrary reader may simply read in overview, cleverly read between the lines and beyond the written word itself, or at times, miserably fail to observe the essential meaning or subtle nuance of the writer’s thought or expression.
Where the opinions of the reader, critic and author do not agree, should that process itself automatically incite or exacerbate feelings of anger and dismay in the writer? No.
In elemental form, an expression of anger is a waste of valuable time and will not change the opinion of the dedicated and astute critic. Will stinging rebuttals make the author feel better or magically provide a correction of flaws in the author’s work? Not likely. Will being sad, disenchanted or disillusioned help when discovering a critic has struck a nerve? No. One must differentiate criticism from the critique.
Polarity of the words of a reader or critic are important, the critique usually being seen by the writer as being either negative or positive, and constructive or destructive.
Writers do, however, often fail to see the contributive element of criticism. The guiding principle in fielding a critique, or criticism, should be to remember any weaknesses pointed out by a reader or critic may also be the Achilles heel of the subject article. Defects identified and confirmed, offer the writer a wonderful opportunity to expand, correct, and purify the premise or works as may be required.
There is little doubt that writing, recording, and keeping abreast of change in civilization itself is the destiny of writers on any plane.
It is our duty to create, tell stories, relate fact, and analyze societal characteristics. It is the writer’s duty, a specified lot in life, to keep the polarity of change sorted out and placed in comprehensible, established order. It is also our duty to mount and maintain a charge to effect change as necessary for all we believe in. To not do so is to fail as a writer.
Similarly, it is the critic’s duty to clearly state counter argument, offer correction, question validity, request the expansion of the writer’s mind, and improve the written word by contribution.
Writers by default, then, must therefore work diligently to keep in mind that a ‘critique’ received from someone is not necessarily just negative or positive.
Perhaps the offerings of a critic are merely a neutral observation of the validation of the author’s belief in the premise, and specifically only the premise, of the literary work. The actual style or content of any author’s works may not be the subject of criticism at all, other than the perception that a body of work may not seem adequately supported or validated in life by the knowledge or beliefs of the writer, which then becomes a semantic question of sincerity, dedication and ultimately, truth.
That conundrum is problematic and the solution is best left to the individual writer.
In summary then, although the writer may not initially understand what the initial intent of any critique was, or why it evolved, the intent of any critique only superficially has any bearing upon how the writer perceives it. Therein lies the key.
Writing is, after all, “as it is written”. We do our best, come what may.
Is that Incoming I hear?