March 29, 2014

Unexpected and Unkind

Dear M,

However much we prepare ourselves for criticism, the fact is that we are never prepared for criticism. That's because the most hurting comments don't come from where we expect it to.

We know that we have been insensitive in the portrayal of those scenes in the story. We tried, but we never got it right. We know that we have not researched enough while writing those facts in the plot. We expect people to say that the first seemed too heartless, the second seemed to have been lifted right off Google. We're prepared for it. We have our replies scripted out.

But then, it comes, the bomb. That scene, they say, seems so fake. The misery and grief are so contrived. The characters seemed like they are acting. Tone it down a bit.

And they're talking about the part which you had ripped off from your own life. That part that wrenches your heart even as you remember it. That part which, when you wrote, made you shed bucket-load of real tears. Tone it down? How can you tone it down? It was more intense that you could ever describe. You had toned it down hundred fold in the story from what it actually was. Why can't they see how much pain had gone behind it? Why can't they see it was written right from the heart?

The world is an unkind place. It always wants to prop the unexpected on to your shoulders. We can never be prepared enough. What we can do, is to tell ourselves that we will not stop however unexpected, unkind and untrue the accusations are.


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