Monday, September 16, 2013

My Thoughts on Bad Reviews

I've been spending more time on Twitter as of late and there has been quite a hub bub over author's receiving bad reviews of their books. In fact, Chuck Wendig has a great commentary going on his blog. And I love how he so perfectly puts it as "The juice ain't worth the squeeze."

So I'm not a published author, hence I've never received a bad review of my writing (I have gotten some harsh constructive critiques though). But I can imagine that mean or negative reviews probably don't make the author feel too hot. I talk about books on my blog and I never talk about any published works negatively. One time I even had a commenter say that it seems that I only review books that I love. That it just seems like I love everything I read. That maybe I don't have a discerning eye about books.

But, there's a reason for this folks.

For one, I don't do official book reviews here. I call them gossip time posts for a reason. I like to gossip about books that move me. Books where I think about the characters long after I've finished the last page. Books that I want to read over and over again (Confession: I've read and listened to Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins at least five times each in the past six months. And that's just in the past six months. I don't even know how many times I've listened or read to these novels since their publishing birthdays).

So if I gossip about a book over here I usually really really like it. If I don't gossip about a book maybe it didn't really move me, or maybe it did move me, but I was just too busy too gossip about it. But I just don't see the point in talking about books negatively. As any aspiring writer, I read and listen to audio books in massive quantities, and by doing so I've become quite picky. And I can actually understand why agents and editors end up rejecting as many manuscripts as they do. You end up developing a select taste. I may start a book and after five pages I may decide I don't want to read it anymore. Does it make it a bad book? No, absolutely not. It just mean's that it's not up Anita's quirky alley. But the same book may end up being something that someone else is going to repeatedly read until the binding cracks and the pages start falling out. So why would I want to say something negative about a book I didn't like (or why would I even want to read an entire book I didn't like just so I can say negative things about it) because it could potentially cause a reader to miss out on a novel that moves them? I don't want to be the reason someone doesn't discover their Anna and the French Kiss. (Please note that I do read more things than just Stephanie Perkins).

I don't want to be the reason that someone misses out on a book that they uniquely connect with. Because, hey, we all connect with different things.

The other reason I don't believe in speaking ill of another author or their work is because of in my profession (outside of the awesome world of writing) there is a rule that you never ever put down another professional in your field. You can listen to other people complain about the professionals they work with but you, yourself, should never be the one to dole out the criticism of another person in your field.

It's just unprofessional.

There's a fine line between discussing the qualities of a novel and its author versus an outright bashing. Bashings are bad. And for the author to respond to said bashing, well, I'd like to fall back on Chuck Wendig's motto: "The juice ain't worth the squeeze."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back to Competition at the Peach Classic

During Labor Day weekend I competed at the Peach Classic in Atlanta, Georgia. The competition was hosted by the Georgia Figure Skating Club and they did a phenomenal job, especially Rob Lichtefeld the competition chair. Kudos to him! And for working so hard on his birthday!

Peach Classic was the first competition that I had participated since like 2007 and it was the first competition since I had ACL surgery in 2010. I spent most of the summer diligently working out and trying to stay on top of my programs. But my training was plagued with inconsistencies because my knee did not want to cooperate. And then two weeks before competition my SI Joint in my left hip was injured.

Well, great, I thought. But I didn't stress, which surprised me. When I was a teenager and competing I was always a ball of nerves and self-doubt. There was one time I remember before a freestyle test I had started crying before I skated because I was so certain I would suck. My attitude and skating self-esteem were horrible.

But now, I look at things differently. One, I am so thankful that I can still skate. For so long after ACL reconstruction I simply thought it would never happen again. And two, the whole point of this is to have fun, right?

I competed freestyle on Saturday. My coach couldn't be there, but my pals from the Birmingham Figure Skating Club were there to cheer me on. And I was so calm, even though I had forgotten to take my anti-inflammatory drugs and my knee and hip were throbbing. I was calm. And I calmly searched for some Ibuprofen (thank you Heather Mumper!). And then during the warm up, I did my elements, and only put my hand down on my last double toe loop, which I had tried to squeeze in after the referee had announced the warm up was over anyway. Again, I was amazed at how I was not freaking out. My legs weren't jello and there were no butterflies in my stomach. And I didn't feel like I had to pee. You can ask any skater and most will tell you they feel like they have to go to the bathroom before they skate even though they may have just already went. I watched three people skate with the IJS judging system--which meant it took forever! My body got cold. I didn't freak out again. I just put my jacket on. Where was this zen state coming from? I had no clue. And then it was my turn to skate. I took the ice knowing exactly which jumps I was going to do and which ones I was just going to do singles on (because I didn't want to aggravate my hip). And then I skated clean. No major mistakes. I got off the ice in awe.

Saturday night I had a little too much fun spending time with the fantasy characters roaming the streets of Atlanta at Dragoncon and I went to bed a bit to late for the day before a competition.

But when I woke up Sunday morning I did not fret over the fact that I was not well rested and my gal pal Anjali and I headed back to the rink for a morning of competition.

Did I mention how awesome adult competitors are? There is oodles of sportsmanship and pats on the back and have a great skate!

I competed Junior/Senior Freestyle:

I competed Pre-Gold Dance:

I also competed in Adult Gold Compulsory Moves (before this event there was a mega power failure at the ice rink and the entire city within a ten mile kept things interesting):

All in all, I had an excellent experience, injuries and all. And I can't wait to compete again. Shout out to Deavers Photography for these fun action photos. And shout out to my gal pal Anjali Patel for showing me an awesome weekend!