Sunday, May 9, 2010

THE ANTI-RANT, or, A Recant... sort of

Before heading off to bed tonight I went back and read the post I wrote this morning.

Wow. PMS much, anyone? Yeah. It's about that time again--hormones are a doozy, aren't they?It's been more than an hour since my first attempt at sleep. With stomach clenching and anxiety building, I had to get up, had to make amends, as it were, for words fitly spoken (typed.)

Do I gag and/or roll my eyes every time I see a new book cover from a Christian publisher with the Amish "life" portrayed? Yes, I do. Does that invalidate that author's hard work and contribution to the world of literature? Umm. gulp. No.

We don't all like the same stuff.

Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote:

“Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

And to think that just a few posts ago I wrote about getting over my critical attitude. Oh, the power of words. Forgive me, Amish book authors. You're doing what you feel called to pursue--you are passionate and you're getting published. Congratulations should be in order rather than the scathing criticism of an, ahem, unpublished author.

Another wise writer/philosopher (Dolly Parton) once said,
"Get down off the cross, honey, cuz someone needs the wood!"

Yeah. Poor me. Nobody's pubbing my books. Mayhap there be a reason for that, eh? Maybe someone needs to take one of those heavy beams and wack me upside the head. Maybe I'm just jealous. They're getting published and I'm not. Yeah, I'll admit it: I am jealous--the ugly, green monster kind of jealous--and it ain't pretty. But that doesn't have me rushing to open up a new Microsoft Word Document so I can start writing my new Amish novel. Instead, it has me reaching for my Bible and putting my heart near my knees.

Is that critical, sarcastic person who I really am?

A character from one of my novels stole a line from my real life when she said, "Sarcasm is my native tongue." But tonight I'm reminded of the speaker I once heard who listed sarcasm among the baser human cruelties. Sarcasm has it's place, I think, in our culture... but perhaps it is too easily dripping from my mouth and my keystrokes.

So, is this inability to sleep, guilt-induced recant based on just another hormonal mood swing? I don't know. But I do know that I wish, wish WISH there would be more variety offered by CBA publishers. And , regardless of my guilt over how I expressed myself, I really, really, really, don't like Amish books.

But you might. Or your friends might. And, perhaps, even your teenage daughter might. Gulp. It is possible that within the fiction those bestselling authors create you've found a mirror that I have discarded--one of a different shape and size--one that comes wearing a bonnet. Or maybe not. Maybe you just read to escape--and the Amish life is so different from your own that you just love transporting yourself to that other world.

Escape. Ahhhhh.... I get that. I've done that (though not with Amish books.) I will, from time to time, pick up a regular old fluffy beach read, just for the fun of it. I'm not looking for Truth, I'm looking to be entertained. And that's okay--publishing is a business, after all, and market driven. If sales are steady in a particular genre in this particular economy, then, perhaps there is a place for Amish literature, if for no other reason than to provide a living for some struggling, well-meaning authors and editors. Well, then, as Tiny Tim said, "God Bless us, everyone."

I don't much care for Dickens either, but that's another post, and, since the dude's dead all bets are....

Whoa, girl.

Sorry. Little tangent there. Maybe PMS makes me a little ADD. And LMNOP, just in case you were wondering.

PMS aside, many of my friends could tell you that I suffer from an overdeveloped sense of guilt. If I feel that I've hurt someone, or found out that I (unintentionally) hurt someone, it literally eats me up inside. I lose sleep--I become anxious, feel sick--until I make it right.

Guilt plus hormones equals me posting a recant at a quarter to one in the morning on a day I've gotta get up and go to work in a few short hours. So I guess this is my anti-rant; my apology--my attempt to make it right.

So justice begs to ask: How dare I give a scathing review to a book simply because of its genre? How dare I judge the creation of an author and her publisher without having given it full perusal? I read part of Chapter One of Book One of a new series. I did not read the full book and, as I've stated recently in this very blog--I've grudgingly "stuck it out" on several other-genre titles and been glad for it.

Shame on me.

Does that mean I'm gonna rush right out and get this series and read it? Nope. Cuz Amish books just ain't my bag, baby.

But they might be yours.

And that's okay.

Sometimes our own reflection is the one we most need to hold up against Truth.

Sometimes the mirror needs to be cleaned.


Tracy Krauss said...

Eloquent and honest, but don't beat yourself up too much! I still enjoyed the first post and also like the sarcasm. I could tell it was done with humor and a bit 'tongue in cheek', so no worries!

Martha A. said...

LOL!!! I have been fed up with the Amish books too, especially since I am pretty similar to a Mennonite and grew up amongst an Amish community....i wonder why I torture myself with reading some of them and have been forcing myself to ignore them. Thankfully, there are some great authors out there writing some great historical and other fiction that I love too.