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Thursday, March 6, 2014

With Love From The Critic

If you write, there will come a day when someone tells you

they do not like your work.

It's just part of the gig.  It happens.  Even to the best and brightest.  

Do you know how many rejection letters Margaret Mitchell received for her "Gone With the Wind"?

Thirty-eight.  That's right Scarlett, thirty-eight publishers just didn't give a da... well you get the picture.

And she's only #59 on the list of 100 Famous Rejections!

Learning how to deal with critics and bad reviews is also part of the gig.

While re-reading my favorite book of poetry, "Songs from the Ozarks" by J.M. Hickman, I ventured back to the very beginning. I'd forgotten about the first two poems. I found them to be not only beautifully written (as is every poem in the book),  but very relevant to how best to deal with critics.  I thought I'd share them with you today.


Your verses are not culture-wrought,
Is what the critic said;
Though many are quite full of thought
And will be oft re-read.

The grammar seems to be all right
And all the meter true;
Sometimes you reach to lofty height —
Again, you sink with blue.

Sometimes with hope you take your flight
And sing a happy strain.
And then, cast down in darkest night,
Seem full of grief and pain.

Sometimes with God you seem to dwell
And climb the mountain's side;
And then, like demon from old hell.
You seek from Him to hide.

Sometimes your heart seems beauty's home.
And flowers seem to bloom;
And then, like wayward child to roam.
Seems full of dismal gloom.

Sometimes you seem all full of doubt
And cast the Christ aside;
Again, with joy you sing and shout,
And with Him close abide.

Oh, man! What's weaving in your brain
To call forth all of this?
Have you lived both a life of pain
And then a life of bliss?

Does old remorse, in looking back,
Call forth the anguished cry,
And wring your soul with torture's rack.
That you so moan and sigh?

Let future life with faith attain
Forgiveness for the past.
For God is able to sustain.
And then your joy will last.



I care not how the poets wrote,
Nor for the rules they had;
I sing the songs of my own note.
Let them be good or bad.

I sing not for the lord or squire —
For them I do not tone
The muse's harp strings, but my lyre
Is for the poor alone.

Let others copy all they please
The poets of the past;
I'll bend to them no humble knees.
Though my songs may not last.

At least the songs will be my own.
That from my heart were born;
And as I do not seek renown,
I do not fear their scorn.

If but the poor and humble sing
A single song of mine,
That to them happiness will bring,
I'll say the pay's divine.

If gathered 'round their hearth at night
All grieved and full of care.
One song of mine would make them light,
T'will be good pay, I swear.

If humble hearts in after years
Should say his heart was love —
He helped to wipe away our tears,
T 'would give me joy above.

Then others may sing as they will
To educated ears,
I'll raise my voice in humble trill
To wipe away poor tears.

Read the full works here *click*