Communicating my emotions, thoughts, and feelings has always been difficult for me. I was raised in Japan, a society where people hid everything beneath a mask of icy politeness. Being ostracized by my schoolmates certainly didn't make it any easier to open up to people. With all the outdated stereotypical attitudes that come from being a male ("emotions are for sissies!") and the fact that I have Asperger's Syndrome (difficulties with nonverbal communication and social interactions), sometimes it feels like the cards are stacked against me in this one area.
But, like an artist uses his canvas to express whatever emotion is going through his head, I've been able to use the "canvas" of my books, stories, and blog to share bits and pieces of myself with people.
It's terrifying to put your art into the world. There's always the fear that people won't enjoy it—or they may even hate it. As the person responsible for creating that art, it's hard not to feel like they're rejecting YOU when they reject or criticize your art.
Yet the rejection and criticism I my works have received have shown me a simple truth: I can handle it.
Yes, it's an awful feeling to read a 1-star review and realize that the work you were so proud of isn't quite as good as you thought. It's like a donkey kick in the gut, and definitely not the happiest aspect of writing. But with every negative review or critique, I realize that my art doesn't define who I am. Yes, I pour my blood, sweat, and tears into my writing. I do my best to make the work truly perfect, but I've come to understand that perfect doesn't exist. Now that I know that, I can stop taking critiques and negative feedback so personally.
And this is the best part: it's an attitude I can translate into the rest of my life. Whenever I hear someone say something negative about me or criticize me, I can remember that I am as flawed and imperfect as the art I have created. They don't dislike everything about me, just an aspect of me. Perhaps it's something I can't change, but it's not the complete me. There's more to me than just my faults and failings.
Writing has been my therapy in so many ways. It's given me a way to express my thoughts and feelings freely, even if I'm not certain I have the words just right. It's allowed me to tap into my inner artist in a way my pathetic painting, drawing, and graphic designing skills never permitted. But most of all, it's proven that I'm a bloody tough person who can handle criticism, rejection, and feedback. That's the sort of lesson that's worth its weight in gold!
New Release: Child of The Night Guild
About Andy Peloquin
I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist--words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I'm also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.
Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle--it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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