Thursday, September 23, 2004

Beyond these waters lies success...DANGER!

As [info]elementalmuse pointed out in her journal, there is a tempest in a teapot that has garnered the attention of at least one major newspaper. Anne Rice has answered her critics on their mostly anonymous reviews of Blood Canticle, the last of the Vampire Chronicles. Like many another successful author, she has dared to end a beloved group of characters that have become legend. If you're looking for the review, don't; it has been deleted. And yet with the power of the Internet it is here: Anne Rice's response

Being a writer is a double-edged sword and sliding down the razor blade of life (as one close friend calls it) is no picnic for even the most famous. In many senses writing a book is like birthing a child that you give your best and send out into the world to be greeted, hopefully with praise and kindness, but more often than not with catcalls and jeers.

As a reviewer, I bring my experience, taste, and sensibilities to what I read and try to point the way to what I consider good and bad books and stories, but reviewing is a subjective art...and art it is. It is one person's opinion, my opinion. Even Poppy Z. Brite has taken on the anonymous and often vicious reviewers of in the name of striking out on a new track, one that does not involve horror or boy love or anything that is remotely close to what made her a recognizable name in horror. Writers evolve. They take chances. They move forward. And to be trapped by the words you write into yet another book about the same characters when you may or may not wish to continue them is to create the very scenario that Stephen King envisioned in Misery.

Writers become trapped by successful characters and worlds, places that no longer offer them creative freedom or a place to build, remodel, or even imagine any more. So many writers, yes, and even actors, have been trapped by personas they created that took on a life of their own. Unfortunately, without the man behind the curtain or inside the character's skin, the creation dies. It is like being an indentured servant for the rest of your life, forced to perform the same act over and over when your relish and joy are gone.

That being said, good and bad reviews are better than none at all because they generate sales. If you cannot stand the heat, stop standing in the fire. Writing requires strength and a willingness to risk yourself and your literary children, and both must learn to stand on their own and suffer, as Shakespeare once wrote in Hamlet, "...the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..." or find some quiet and safe a/vocation where you will not be challenged.

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