20070822

Most Disgust

by Sondra Harris

I find this new feature on the Six Sentences website, listing the "most discussed" posts, a bit elitist and demeaning. I worked hard on each piece I've ever submitted, because I am only a lowly blogger trying to become a better writer. My efforts have now become trivialized in comparison with other submissions that receive more comments. I don't deny these pieces are well-written and presented, but sometimes the reason they're "most discussed" has less to do with how good the work is than with the fact that its content is confrontational (to the point of being insulting), that the author responds to each comment, thus doubling the total, or that it was contributed by a celebrity. I used to glean some validation from the few constructively critical and occasional positive comments I would receive from a reader for one of my stories, but I guess we can't put as much stock into quality versus quantity anymore. And discuss... or not.

6S

Sondra Harris is the author of Quest and the book Getting My Think On. More of her work may be found at her website. She's sufficiently immature, needy, and whiny, and has pretty much decided just to take her dollies and go home.

25 comments:

sporadic reader said...

You make a good point. It's not a story, really, but it's a good point.

I say we discuss it and discuss it. :)

golfwidow said...

According to the Writers' Guidelines, it doesn't have to be a story.

I quote: "Just write six sentences. Say anything you like."

Mind you, if you find this offering less valid than repeating one word six times with periods in between, then I really probably do need to take my dollies and go home.

And now we have two. Do I hear three?

Shaindel said...

Who's to say that "Drip. Drip. Drip," etc., isn't interesting and isn't good writing? Part of good writing is being creative with the medium and the guidelines, etc.

This doesn't mean that I "appreciate" the strand of Christmas lights nailed to a board in the modern art wing of a museum as much as I appreciate one of my favorite Pre-Raphaelite paintings, but knowing people who find such work more artistic has made me think about my tastes, values, and my own artistic choices.

We're all in this together (the world, and the art world) so we may as well get along.

Best,
Shaindel

Anonymous said...

Is Ms. Harris duplicitous? I wonder if her primary motivation in writing "Most Disgust" was to trump the Neil LaBute comment count.

Food for thought.

Quin said...

she didn't say she found the faucet piece uninteresting, did she? as far being duplicitous and wanting to trump the labute count, i fall into part of her category, should i fall on the floor kicking my feet and crying 'why is she picking on me?'

well, actually, i did, but, i feel better now.

while i'm addressing anon, why not have the belief in your words to sign a name?

Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker. No need for names.

golfwidow said...

@ Shaindel: I did, actually, like the "drip" story. I just don't think that my offering here is less valid than one word repeated six times, just because it isn't a "story."

As to why we don't all just get along, I was trying to at first, but this site seems to have morphed from a nice forum for writers to practice and share into a popularity contest, hence my current whinefest.

@ anon: I don't know Neil LaBute but I really hated the hell out of what he had to imply about anyone who isn't a Real Writer Like Him. Again, I'm not saying his piece wasn't well written, or even valid, but I took offense to it.

@ quin: Glad you're feeling better. Me, I've got a headache.

golfwidow said...

This one, by the way, makes eight. Do I hear nine?

Quin said...

anon~lurking is fine. however, leaving random comments without an identity is like cursing at someone in a language they don't understand. it's wasted energy and in the end, it doesn't mean a thing. it's the adults voices in the charlie brown shows, the blahblahblah. own your words.

Walt said...

Sorry, but we writers get no points for elegantly crafted prose, heartfelt messages, or hard work.

The only thing that counts is crafting something that moves, captivates, enchants, angers, or transports another human being.

People read to get goose-bumps or to lose themselves in a hammock for a few hours. Write for that, not for praise.

Quin said...

i hear what you are saying, walt..but, we are human. and some part of us wants to say, 'booya!' when it goes well.

and hard work, elegantly crafted prose and the rest go into making a reader want to stay in that hammock to read what's been written, wouldn't you say?

i want to read hard work and elegantly crafted prose that grabs me and holds me rather than, "it was a dark and stormy night"

golfwidow said...

@ Walt: I agree that this particular piece of mine is more of a pity party than actual captivating writing, but I really did think the other two contributions I've made so far, and some of the other writing I've done away from this site, were okay.

No, I don't write for praise as such; I write for myself. It's just that it makes me feel a little bit better to know that something I've written has held someone's attention other than my own. I don't think I'm alone in that. That little code that counts up how many times someone said something about a piece, good or bad, kind of flattens my soul - but not as much as your having said that my efforts to create anything good have failed, whether it's because I genuinely suck as a writer, or if it's just because I crave a little verification once in a while.

golfwidow said...

Incidentally, the fact that this is now on the list, considering that five of the comments here were made by me, just proves my point.

Anonymous said...

Here's a solution--Don't seek validation of your contribution(s) based upon the number of comments generated (or lack thereof).

I like the feature.

nl said...

The next six:

"Getting Exactly What You Secretly Want By Complaining About It and Using Reverse Psychology" by Sondra Harris

(Well played!)

Madam Z said...

Hey Sondra! I hope you're not serious, but if you are, I have four words for you: "Don't worry...be happy!"

Oops, here are a few more words...I think the best part of writing is the act itself. If you enjoy putting the words together, honing them and re-reading them (and judging from the perfect construction of your posts, I would say that you do), chances are that your readers enjoy them too. I hope you and your "dollies" keep up the good work.

Quin said...

she's making a valid point...good writing is not always the work that is paid attention to in the process. good work is often overlooked.

in my example, i'd use transformers vs once. the first an okay film backed with huge reviews, studio backing and page after page of words going on and on about it. the second a small indie film that went out there with word of mouth and a few reviews that said how it glowed, and it did. it was the better of the two films.

who got the attention? the former film.

didn't make it a better film, just the one people talked about.

Bob Jacobs said...

Don't expect me to fall into your little trap and leave a comment. I'm better than that.

conroy said...

No comment.

jewgirl said...

something to consider: you should love 6S even more for publishing your story and at the very least recognize that this is a place where we can in fact say anything.

walt said...

golf:

I don't mean to be harsh. I know exactly what it's like to pour one's guts into a piece and have no one much care. Happens to me every day.

My point: My definition of 'good' writing is writing that resonates in the reader. It moves or tickles them, or it doesn't.

A stand-up comic gets no credit for a well-crafted, perfectly honed joke that he worked really hard on. If people laugh, it's good joke. If they don't, it's not good.

99% of your readers will pay no attention to your technique or craft -- only to how it makes them feel. And it's often impossible to point to what makes a piece powerful or not. We think we know, but we don't.

I have no idea how to make stuff zing all the time. There's a magic to it I cannot explain.

Anonymous said...

golfwidow: As a new writer I feel that all these 'more experienced' writers have given you sufficient feedback on this post. I just want to say that visiting your blog Ministry of Silly Walks, and seeing how much your writing has improved over the years, has encouraged me to keep on writing. Thanks.

sporadic reader said...

Golfwidow: Thanks for clarifying the rules. I wasn't being nitpicky - just playful. I enjoyed the piece and thought it relevant.

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