Five years ago, I wrote ‘But you are in France, Madame.’ I had no particular aspiration to tell my story, no desire to hold a published book in my hands, no illusion that I was doing the world a service by writing – and certainly no belief that it would be a money-making venture. So, why did I do it? I guess it was for me. The thing is that I did not realise that at the time. Neither did I truly understand that my story would be read around the world and that that would open me up to scrutiny … to criticism. Naive? Probably.
I have been called a bogan (and similar), my parenting has been questioned and my writing has been pulled apart … by people who do not know me but feel completely at ease with passing judgement. Some days, the personal attacks are so hurtful that I feel that the only option is to give up … to stop writing. It usually takes a couple of days before I can once again put into perspective that these anonymous (and most are that) attacks could possibly be saying more about those who write them than me. I slowly pull myself together and start again – before the cycle repeats.
But, I have listened to those who have bothered to write with actionable critiques. You were right: I was inexperienced; I did not know anything about writing or the publishing process. For you, I have updated my files for ‘But you are in France, Madame’: available in print or ebook by clicking on the links.
And in so doing, I take heart from Germaine Greer*; a stellar, accomplished literary figure. In an interview with Julia Zamiro, she tells us that she did not consider her first book, ‘The Female Eunach,’ to be her best book but goes on to say that it was the best book that she could write at the time.
Here’s to listening and learning … and being gentle, or even re-considering, when you feel the urge to be nasty.
*Germaine Greer (/ɡrɪər/; born 29 January 1939) is an Australian writer and public intellectual, regarded as one of the major voices of the radical feminist movement in the later half of the 20th century. (thank-you Wikipedia)