To Complain or Not to Complain

Have you ever thought about the number of times you complain throughout the day, or if not you, then someone close to you, maybe even someone on social media? I’d like to say that while many of have problems expressing our emotions, we do quite well in the complaint department.

The definition of complain is to “express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something.

Pandemic woes, the high price of fuel, supply chain issues, these past few years have given all of us plenty to gripe about. I’m in no way disputing that. Nor am I using this post to be complaining about us all complaining. Instead I’d like it to be a positive post.

It is true there is a time to speak up and express our concerns about things. It is how change happens. Nothing can ever change if a problem is not brought to the forefront. Sometimes if we express our concerns, we can make change happen for the good but complaining about it amongst ourselves just keeps us on that hamster wheel. I feel this endless complaining about things we have no control over isn’t helpful or healthy.

I’m not perfect. I’m willing to bet you aren’t either. I sometimes find myself pulled into a vortex of negativity. I’ll be honest, sometimes it almost feels good to complain. Good for a short time, that is. Spending the day thinking about all the things that is wrong in our world or the world in general can be like a disease that keeps spreading…but if we allow it.

I’m not suggesting that life should be this huge big ball of positivity because we all know it is not. But there are things we can do when we find ourselves slipping into that endless vat of complaints. For now, I’ve decided to avoid watching too much about the war in Ukraine because it is so heartbreaking. No, I’m not sticking my head in the sand, but watching the same horrors again and again is probably not so good for my mental health. Yes, I will stay informed. But I need to step back for a time.

So, setting all complaints aside, I’m going to mention something positive about my day. From my kitchen window I can see the wooded area surrounding the lake. After the foot of snow we got from the last snow storm, it was such a surprise to look out and see patches of ground where the snow had melted completely. This all happened yesterday when the temperature got up to +10. Spring, I thought gleefully. Yes, gleefully!

I’d seen signs of it in February, some pussy willows and robins (and for a time the snow was completely gone.) But we all know that while Spring might give us glimpses of herself in February, she does not completely show up until March or even April. So needless to say, the sight of bare ground in March feels like a small win for me today. Because maybe, just maybe Spring is slowly closing in on us.

Since this is a post about NO complaints, if you choose to leave a comment, please make it something positive. I am working toward a goal to have an entire day without complaining. Wish me luck and enjoy the rest of you day in a positive way!

How Did You Say That–Book Review?

Have you ever written a book review and posted it online?

I’ve been thinking about the act of reviewing books. Yes I know, anyone can write a review whether they’re qualified to do so or not, and with the internet these days anyone can post their review online and they do. But what does that really mean? I ask because I’m not certain. Do people pay attention to these reviews or do they read them for the entertainment value? Does it effect their decision when it comes to buying a book or reading a book? Am I asking too many questions here?

Every author loves a good review– a bad review, not so much. But who are book reviews really written for, the author, the reader or the reviewer?

I recently read a review of someone’s book that pointed out plenty of positive aspects, as well as negative, with a clear defined reason as to why this person didn’t particularly like the book. I thought it was wonderful. They even went so far as to say they understood why this book would appeal to others. That particular review made me feel that, if I were to ever write a negative review, I’d want to offer such a balance the same way this reviewer did. Seems to me there are always nice ways to get your point across.( Our intent should never be to offend.) Not only that, feedback, if offered the right way, gives the author something to consider and keep in mind when writing their next book should that feedback be at all helpful. Good solid criticism never hurt anyone. It’s what makes us better writers. Nasty comment, on the other hand, shouldn’t be worth our time writing or reading. Just saying.

I’ve read a few reviews that felt like a personal attack on the author. Have you?

Perhaps I’m sensitive that way knowing what all goes into writing a book and finding a publisher. Perhaps the reviewer’s energy would be better spent bashing the publisher who deemed a particular worthy book of publication and not the author. After all, it is our art, take it or leave it.

Interesting things to consider.

Would I ever write a negative book and post it on line? Probably not. That’s just who I am personally. I have to be honest here and say that maybe if I wasn’t a writer myself, who knows? Maybe I would. Would I write a negative review that was nasty and hurtful, that had nothing positive to contribute? Absolutely not. What would be the point? That would make it my own personal bias. While we’re all entitled to our own opinion, and rightfully so, can’t we at least be mature about it?

What do you think, if you truly disliked someone’s book would you write a negative review? If the review was negative would you just lay it all on the line or would you offer some solid reasons as to why the book wasn’t for you? Would you mention some positive aspects about the book if you felt there were any? Or do you think the author doesn’t even factor into the review, their book is out there and you have a right to say if you think it stinks? I’m really interested in some honest, helpful opinions on this.

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