Shut up! or Don’t Shut up?

Didn’t we have a lot of hair?

A LOST PHOTO.  My husband recently returned from his parents’ house with several vintage photos of ourselves.  We have always been indifferent to photos, and don’t have many, but his parents documented our breif visits with rolls of film.  Here we are in our twenties at Niagara-on-the-Lake, hanging out with his family after our first year of teaching.  Isn’t he adorable? I was so tired:  my lips are weirdly puckered . “Maybe you were  tired of hanging out with my family,” he says.

Wasn’t my husband cute?   I was cute when I wasn’t puckering into the sun.

THE BLOG. I love reading.  I love writing my blog.  I don”t write reviews; I write up my notes and consider this my book journal. Even so, I occasionally offend writers. Writers don’t like criticism, and who can blame them?  I have written favorable reviews and made friends of writers.  I have written bad reviews and made enemies of writers. I have written good/bad reviews and made “frenemies” of writers. The best way not to offend writers?  Shut up!

I also like to rant about what I perceive to be problems in publishing.  I am  upset about dumbing down, whether it is the New York Times reviewing romances,  or Webster’s Dictionary defending the use of the non-word, “irregardless.” This kind of issue always gets to me.  Not long ago, after I read something that seemed particularly “dumb”at one of the dozens of publications I read, I wrote a brief letter to the editor.

And in today’s world, I got an email response from the editor.  Oh, no, I thought.  That wasn’t what I intended at all.  I didn’t want to write to THE editor; it was just “a letter to the editor.” Surely what I wrote couldn’t have been that upsetting?  Cranks write letters to the editor, and there was a slight indication they thought I was a crank. I wrote back what I hope was an appropriate response, praising the publication and repeating my criticism more mildly.

Dumbing down is a minor issue in today’s world.  There’s war, climate change, famine…  In retrospect, I really should NOT have written that letter to the editor.

Shut up? Don’t shut up?

Boundaries, Kat!  There are no boundaries on the internet.

And that’s why I prefer to read and write about dead writers!

9 thoughts on “Shut up! or Don’t Shut up?

  1. Of course you shouldn’t shut up. I usually DO shut up. I generally forbear from saying something negative even though bursting to, because I figure it’s not worth it to make waves (and enemies). I loathe, loathe, loathe argument and confrontation. That’s certainly the easiest way to be, and the older I get, the more I’m doing it. So I admire you for trying to say something against the dumbness, even if it’s only little. Because you’re right when you say there are no boundaries on the internet, but there are also no boundaries to dumbness in our society. A huge amount of the world’s evils happen through dumbness. (Trump is just one example.) I am SURE your letter to the editor was correct in its protest, and it probably ruffled feathers a little because they knew you were right and it made them feel uncomfortable! Never mind: you did made them think. There was nothing wrong with writing it, so don’t beat yourself up.

    You and your husband were TOO adorable – whew! Love old pictures.

    Regards,
    Diana

    • Diana, I’m with you. It’s best to avoid conflict. I was thinking of a letter to the ed. as an “old school” kind of criticism. Before the internet you would write a letter to the editor and you would hear nothing unless it was published Nowadays readers, writers, and editors all interact, I suppose. And I do have a tendency to underestimate how controversial some subjects are.

      Yes, there are no boundaries at all on the internet! Nonsense rules!

      I love old pictures too, though I do wish he’d brought home one where I wasn’t squinting/puckering!

      • That’s OK, Kat, as Diana Mitford’s nanny said on her wedding day, “Don’t worry, no one will be looking at YOU, dear!” You look charming!

  2. You were both cute! My husband and I used to be cute, too. Ah, for those days.
    It is sometimes difficult to known when, or if, you should speak or be silent. At my father’s funeral, the minister, who had known him for years, said that my father was a quiet man, which he was, but that when he spoke, he always said something worth listening to. I try to keep that in mind when I feel like spouting off.

  3. Thanks! It is so strange to see these old pictures. Nobody went around with a camera much in those days so it is charming and funny to see this “record” of a long-ago picnic on Niagara-on-the-Lake!.

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