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There's power in numbers, but it only takes one. One single person holding a protest sign on the street corner can get coverage on a slow news day (which is good news if I'm the person holding the sign). But the bad news is, it also takes only one negative comment to change the focus of an entire day.
A friend of mine, a very talented successful author, sent an email to me a few months ago because she'd visited a book site, and one of the reviews about her latest book was less than complimentary. The "reviewer" spewed negativity about every page in the book, even mentioning the photo on the inside dust jacket. Every other reader's comment at the site was glowing--and there were a lot of them--but all my friend could concentrate on was that one meant-to-be-mean review. Isn't it amazing how one nasty comment has such sticking power?
One person, one nasty comment, I wasn't sure what I could say to help my friend feel better, but then one single book came to my rescue. Earlier that morning I had been rereading an old favorite, Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott and I remembered reading about an experience Anne had when she was shopping with a friend.
"...a month before my friend Pammy died, she said something that may have permanently changed me. We had gone shopping for a dress for me to wear that night to a nightclub...I tried on a lavender mini dress, which is not my usual style. I tend to wear big, baggy clothes...the dress fit perfectly and I came out to model it for her. I stood there feeling very shy and self-conscious and pleased. Then I said, 'Do you think it makes my hips look too big?' and she said to me slowly, 'Annie? I really don't think you have that kind of time.'"
"I don't think you have that kind of time either," I told my friend. "You are an outstanding writer. The review wasn't constructive criticism, just someone who wanted to be mean. Don't go back and reread it any more."--Love, Suzanne
It's so easy to let one little comment steal the joy, I know, because it's happened to me many times. I just hope next time I remember those magic words, "Suzanne, I really don't think you have that kind of time."
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
KIDSBUZZ: Meet new authors -- send an email, ask a question and they will reply. Plus this week, enter to win a free copy of these books for teens: FLAME, the last in the Sky Chasers series by Amy Kathleen Ryan; SAVING BABY DOE by Danette Vigilante; HEARTBEAT by Elizabeth Scott. For a chance to win, say hello to the author, and more, see http://www.authorbuzz.com/kidsbuzz.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is BUTTERFIELD 8 by John O'Hara. Start reading now and enter to win a Penguin bookbag.
AUTHORBUZZ: MAGICAL JOURNEY: An Apprenticeship in Contentment (NonFiction) by Katrina Kenison
Have you ever stood at a crossroads in your own life and wondered, "Now what?" An intimate memoir of loss, self-discovery, and growth, Magical Journey speaks to anyone who's ever mourned the passage of time, celebrated the joy of an ordinary day, or dared to ask, "Do I have what it takes to create something new in my life?"
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on MAGICAL JOURNEY to read more and to email author Katrina Kenison, you'll get a reply.