Whose Admiration Do We Really Value?

We all need signs that our writing is valid, that we aren’t off track, that we aren’t wasting our time, that we do have something to offer, that our writing affects people—at least some people—in some significant way.  For many of us, to receive a glowing review in the New York Times would be IT.  A sign that we’d made it: that our writing was truly GOOD.  And this is fine.  To be appreciated by the literary establishment, by those who have gained the reins of literary assessment in the land, is absolutely of value and something to be celebrated.


Not every fine piece of writing, as we all know, finds its way into the hands of the literary powers that be, however.  And my thought about that is this:  If you receive a glowing letter from an octogenarian living in Drive-Through, Kansas who says your writing made her weep or so happy she went out and bought a cantaloupe, or from a twenty year-old who says your line “She snapped the twig and beat it,” changed her life, does it get better than that?  So what if you didn’t make it into the New York Times.

Painting: "Art for Art's Sake"

 by Maud Taber-Thomas

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