“The Perverse Monstrosity of Our Beautiful Work”

The title grabbed my attention: “The Perverse Monstrosity of Our Beautiful Work.” So did author L.L. Barkat’s first sentence: “It was the suckiest letter I ever received.” Any article that combines perversity, monstrosity, beauty, and suckiness just has to be read.

Barkat’s “suckiest letter” was in response to something she had written. Someone didn’t like her work, and told her in no uncertain terms. I’ve received a few letter’s like this over the years, not to mention several dozen blog comments. I don’t especially like polite criticism. When it comes with meanness, I want to clobber somebody with a baseball bat or, rather, go crawl into a hole. L.L. Barkat knows just what I mean.

But her article goes on to talk about how, before receiving the nasty letter, she had recently been exposed to a variety of artists whose craft was honed by criticism. I won’t steal Barkat’s thunder here by outlining the rest of her piece. Rather, I encourage you to read it. It’s a helpful reminder as well as a “not sucky” piece of writing.

  • Anonymous

    Which is more valuable / effective?  Criticism or encouragement?  I appreciate your blog and writing…

  • Anonymous

    I think encouragement is usually more effective, but that there are times when criticism is necessary. It needs to be delivered honestly and respectfully, though.


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