Friday, May 28, 2010

Flouncing off in a Huff, The Photo

The illustration version is here. Recently got a call from an editor about a story I had written during which she used a really indirect approach to tell me revisions would need to be made. Since I could see the criticism like a freight train coming from a long way off, I felt increasingly impatient. Eventually I got off the phone with a polite excuse, took a couple of days, and wrote down the specific information I needed from her, and we had some productive communication. When is it good to walk away to take a little breathing time and when is it, you know, kind of snotty?

19 comments:

Giulia said...

Oh, I can relate to this (beautiful pic, btw)...I rarely think it's snotty to walk away (politely). It might save a meltdown/showdown. As a former editor (or long-time leave but I still edit for others) as well as a writer & poet, I know it's best to get right to it, with good questions & if needed, suggestions. Otherwise, what you describe happens: impatience. Hemming & hawing is a flaw in an editor. It's not easy for me to criticize (believe it or not) but if I can't do it well than I shouldn't do it at all. What was she trying to accomplish, do you think? Spare feelings (she thought?), or is this her style? Just curious.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've typically dealt with that sort of thing by email, which I think works better because you can skip to the points you need to deal with.

California Girl said...

i don't know.


i never learned!
lol

The Poetry Bus said...

n't know Sparkey. Youn write stories? Cool! Hows about a little poem? Or a prose poem for my mag? And when are you going to Englo and did you get the poems whats I needs illos for? And ting, innit?

Eva said...

I guess you chose the wisest way to handle the situation. Very often, the demand is to accept all criticism, but we have to remember that we have grown to a point where our critics are no better than we are, they just may know better what can be sold. Art always has to be ahead of mainstream to be art, but art needs mainstream to be sold. This is a contradiction can hardly be solved. Hope that it doesn't leave you uneasy what she said.

femminismo said...

That's a tough one to answer. Guess it's in the tone of voice, but I'll bet you handled it well. No fears. The "unsaying" is sometimes the wisest course. Have a productive day.

Celeste Bergin said...

You strike me as an extremely intelligent professional person who wouldn't cotton to mistreatment. Not knowing the complete details, I would venture a guess that you did the right thing by putting distance between you and the circumstances. Sometimes, as my Mother used to say, a situation calls for "withering silence".
I have to remind myself so often that feelings are transitory and in two weeks time I am not thinking about what I was thinking about (boiling over) two weeks ago! We all have to "pick our battles" and congratulations for not having a screaming banshee fit like I might have. lol.

ger said...

It´s almost always good to take a little breathing time I guess - we´ve only already partly unlearned how to do it...

Steve said...

Breathing space when you genuinely need it is always, always without fail, good.

Clowncar said...

Love your original illustration.

My huff is in the shop. I'm prepared to use my tizzy for any flouncing I may need to do in the future.

Titus said...

I think you handled that very well.

I suspect you only truly get to flounce when you are
a) 13 years old
or
b) a Diva.
Only one hope left for me now then...

Fresca said...

For me, taking time out is like the trick of releasing one of those Chinese rattan finger trap---the harder one pulls, the tighter the trap.
The way out is to relax.
I wish I'd known it sooner in my life.

Ah, but "flouncing off in a huff" is not the same as a graceful retreat... There's an art to it, which I have not mastered (or not reliably).

Your idea of writing down what you need for clarification is wise. I will remember it.

Shayna Prentice said...

Beautiful illustration, Susan. I love what Celeste's mom said about "withering silence".

Tom said...

teach me.
btw, that's a great flower pic

grrl + dog said...

Being a bottom line person

that phone call would have ended in tears - not mine!

At least you got what you needed and maybe noted how to manage her in the future...

aleph said...

I had to think a lot before being able to leave a coment this time. Anger and that sort of emotions are kind of little demonds of us and we have to handle them, ´cause otherwise we´ll just burst exposing our weaknesses in dealig with our own emotional response to facts. If one is working, the best is to take a deep breath before saying any word.
But out of laboral world I think one can master anger and use it consciously as a weapon, that´s when you feel you have to become a sort of warrior ´cause there is a "war": for example when trying to talk to your 8 years old daughter´s teacher, who happens to be attonishlingy (or whaterver that word is written in English)lazy and a sort of gross foppery sack. Mastered anger in this situation really becomes an useful weapon... Argh!

yvette said...

great you stayed polite....the picture is very narrative.

yes Susan, it takes time to invite yourself to be happy.

I'm happy with you so...you already do it!
hihi

doeidoei

lettuce said...

ha! perfect picture for this anecdote

hmm hard to know sometimes

mouse (aka kimy) said...

one has to do what one has to do and some time it is BEST to avoid those incoming trains.....i thought you handled yourself admirably and wisely!