Praise from Caesar – The Dilettante Edition

Taking a cue from the witty, sweet and talented Morgan, I thought that I would also spread some love, not only because you deserve it, darlings, but because it is a reminder that what we do is a two way street.

Stories needs to be read. Photographs need to be seen. Poetry needs to be felt. Opinions need to be heard. Art needs to be not only seen, but appreciated, breathed in, enjoyed, interpreted. loved and or hated.

Without an audience, be it one or one thousand, what we do only echoes in empty cyberspace.

I have noticed a trend recently, and I liken it to a dog pissing on a fire hydrant to mark its territory (and if you find the analogy distasteful, then, chances are you are guilty of it — but don’t worry, darlings, it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf). I refer to the practice of hitting “Like” on as many posts as possible just to spread your name and face all over the place — like gang tagging, or like a dog marking your territory, without ever having read what you’ve liked or taking the time to comment. Call it spamming, call it blanket-marketing, call it what you will — it’s a cheap ploy, and it really doesn’t help anyone but that person’s ego when they get all those trackbacks. The whole thing just seems contrary to the entire spirit of writing, and in the creative process in general.

Don’t get me wrong — sometimes I see or read something, and I click “Like” and walk away without comment. I don’t really have anything else to say other than “Nice.” But I think it is important to offer feedback — and not always necessarily a back rub, either. I welcome well-meaning criticism, and I think any writer should. We can’t be so thin-skinned and narcissistic. Not every word that trips off our fingers is genius, darlings.

How will we grow unless we learn? Every good writer I’ve ever spoken to has offered the same advice — read. Read. Then read some more.

Here in the blogosphere, we all have voices — some loud and garish, others dull and unintelligible, some discouraging and negative, some warm and beautiful, and some — some are whispers. Timid voices that aren’t standing on the street corner beating their chest or hocking their wares, but instead are, in the only voice they have, telling the only stories they own.

We need to learn how to listen to others in order to earn the right to have others listen to us.

If you want to be read, then you have to read the work of others.

Ok, Helena, you say, so put up or shut up.

Okay, darlings I will.

Here I will list my favourite posts from the past couple of weeks in the following categories: Fiction, Poetry, Art/Photography, Non-Fiction/Editorial, Essays, etc..

Fiction – Pants on Fire, by KMith. Don’t worry if you don’t know what a Sestina is (all you really need to know is that it’s a very complicated and rarely seen form of poetry that is definitely not the stream of consciousness emo-diarrhea that all of us wrote in our diaries at one point or another), all you really need to enjoy this hilarious story (and yes, I realize that it’s also technically a poem) is a love for the absurd, an affinity for banter, and an appreciation for the word ‘dude’. I look forward to reading more of her work.

Poetry – Fulfilled, by Alice Thierry. A clever exercise in wordplay whose result is shudder-inducing sexy erotica. Never vulgar, Alice crafts a poem rich in tongue-in-cheek language sure to make you smile. I did.

Photography – Street, by Rudolf Vlček. This is only one photo I’m linking to — because I had to choose one, and this one struck me. Rudolf does — whatever it is he does, because I honestly don’t really know the first thing about photography, darlings — and creates images that mix a feeling of frantic, frenzied motion with a focal point of stillness, of — I hesitate to say calm, but it gives the eye something to focus on. If you like this one, spend some time browsing his site, he has a lot of interesting shots.

Non-Fiction/Editorial – Underwater Sculptures, by Jill London. A series of photos with educational commentary by Jill. Check it out for the beautifully creepy images, stay for the realization that these aren’t just abandoned accidents, but rather designs destined to be domiciles for assorted sea creatures someday.

Essays/Articles – Will Psychologists Go the Way of the Cowboy?, by psychologistmimi. This was a challenge for me to read something academic and outside of my normal comfort zone. As it turns out, it was an insightful article by a social psychologist with a desire to affect actual change in people’s lives rather than discuss philosophical abstractions. This article deals with the ramifications of the latest amendment to the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) on diagnosis, and the changing landscape in the mental health field because of this. If you are someone, or know someone who is or has been diagnosed with ADHD, for example, this article may be of interest to you.

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12 responses to “Praise from Caesar – The Dilettante Edition

  1. How very nice it is to find my post listed here, Helena, though I was tempted to hit ‘like’ and be on my way 😉 I found your blog last night via a link from the ever wonderful Morgan and she certainly wasn’t bigging you up for no good reason. Great work, and thanks for including me x

  2. So spot on with the matter of the casual blog visitors who never stay to chat and languish on your pages liking post after post without comment or critique! And thank you for the intriguing sites you linked, I very much enjoyed them!

  3. Pingback: Praise From Caesar — The Dilettante Edition, May 19, 2013 | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.·

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