We write. For most of us, it’s a compulsion not a choice. The bottom line is we write to be heard and that means that when we are heard, there will be a reaction. My story, Branded in Gray, elicited feedback that was exciting and fulfilling. The kind of validation we all look for that says we got it right. Except for one person. It was a harsh critique. I didn’t have to respond because my other readers did. However, my husband – not a writer – asked if it hurt my feelings. Amazingly, it didn’t. The story is gut wrenching and it was written from a place of conflict within me. I understood my critic. She was really angry with the topic – drunk drivers – more than my writing. (Although, my art was certainly hit on that way down.)
The thing is I wanted a response because this is an issue that I have violent personal responses to and it’s why I felt compelled to write it to begin with. I could hardly be upset with someone for reacting to my writing when I placed it out there because I wanted a reaction. I’d be a hypocrit if I did. Odd as it seems, her feedback rings in my ears as much as the glowing feedback I received – not because negative feedback always sticks with us and we all know it does – but because her anger resonates with me. I get it. I understand it. She’d be shocked based on my story to know that I have always demonized drunk drivers and still do. Branded in Gray was my attempt to humanize my demons.
Over the last year I had seen several news stories where people forgave in the most horrendous circumstances. I couldn’t fathom how anyone could do that. I merely took that how could and put it with my own drunk driving demons and Branded was born. It awoke demons in one of my readers and frankly, I don’t see that as a bad thing. Not at all.