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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1044794-On-Criticism
by Elysia
Rated: E · Essay · Experience · #1044794
On criticism....
I am obsessed with reading and writing. These sister muses embody my favorite pastimes, and finest talents.

Writing can be likened to any craft. Writers are carpenters of words, sculptors in syllables. While I aspire to the latter, I lay sure claim to being the former.

Criticism is a delicate process. To constructively criticise, one must command an unquestionable mastery of the subject, while simultaneously exercising a refined sense of diplomacy. Merely being correct is insufficient if one delivers a stab of criticism alongside a pearl of wisdom. Resentment will lead to the scornful dismissal of criticism delivered clumsily.

Ego frequently weighs in with an unconscious mien of superiority. The critic gifted with an above average talent may become comfortable with the assumption that he is superior to all others. Blessed, or burdened, with an innate talent, I am hypercritical of grammatical errors, and positively rabid about misspellings. But the magic power of the spell-check function has caused the language to regress phonetically and grammatically until it is reminiscent of Medieval times. I am the proud owner of a skill threatened with obsolescence.

I could argue that this trend, while distressing to me personally, is not detrimental to the pure goal of communication. One need not have letter-perfect command of the English language to effectively express an idea. Through reading, we learn to ascribe specific meanings to certain arrangements of letters. But reason enables us to understand beyond the physical arrangement; thus, I knew that the sign "Assorted Shurbs" at a local home improvement store was not a new plant that I was unfamiliar with. A similar form of intuition, tempered with tolerance, can be applied to any work. Despite the mislaying of one brick, one can step back to view an entire wall and sense the mason's vision of his pattern. A myriad of sloppy brush strokes evokes a flower bathed in sunlight. A blurred photograph conveys the truth of motion.

Try to read behind grammatical errors, to divine the impetus that spurred a creative imagination to expression. Rules, comforting as a parent's hand to the fresh-legged toddler, can also be released. So a tumble may result; the beauty of freedom waits patiently to be experienced, and shared. Employ criticism's sharp blades with delicate tact around creativity's wings.

If I have nothing pleasant to say, I often say nothing. Conversely, if I am struck with the merit of a piece, I sing my honest praises loud.

Criticise softly, but know how to spell.
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