Sometimes, finding out that you are wrong for some reason or another, or even just learning that there is a different perspective than the one you were using, can be really liberating.
Since I posted my book review about “Espresso Fiction,” I’ve had the pleasure of a very interesting correspondence with its editor. I haven’t suddenly awoken to discover that I love the book, but the editor commented that my review sounded more like “negativity for the sake of negativity” (or something close to that – I admit, I could look at the message again, but it’s still rather personally embarrassing, so I’d really rather not) than a salient review.
And, he (or she) is right.
I had not intended this. Saying something unpleasant just to be nasty or small is actually something I try pretty hard to avoid doing – so you can imagine just how sharp the intake of my breath was when I read it.
But when I look at what I wrote – I agree.
It was negative (sure, I didn’t like it). It was also not specific and spoke in very general, but very vivid derogatory terms.
Now, if you’re gonna go around saying that you can’t stand something, you really need to be able to back that up with facts. And I didn’t.
So, this mea culpa is for the *manner* in which I expressed my view.
I am grateful — yes, *grateful* that this stranger took the time to teach me. I appreciate and respect the gift of this experience. Yeah, I’m also embarrassed (I said that, right?) — but we learn from and remember the things that we screw up. I am so glad that FictionBrigade took the time, and with grace and poise, showed me how I could improve.
In more specific terms, this is what I didn’t like about the anthology:
I thought that the stories lacked flow in rhythm and pacing. Sentences were often stilted, and inconsistent in verb tense and subject. Actions were asked to carry more symbolic or metaphoric weight than they could handle. The stories seemed to be trying so very very hard to be unusual, new, or clever, that they were embarrassingly self-aware, kind of like a teenager at Prom.
Okay, I might be able to extrapolate, but why don’t we leave this at, well, at least not worse than it was?
Comments? Similar experiences? Please, share below.
- Book Review: “Espresso Fiction: A Collection of Flash Fiction for the Average Joe” (mermaidssinging.wordpress.com)