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On Receiving a Negative Review

A FEW WEEKS AGO, a first real negative review of The GAIAD. After I’d read the thing, it took a few moments to identify my reaction. A half-second after that, a mental double-take and a literal LOL.

Though not at the review. The review itself was well-written, the author clearly in possession of an active and educated mind. I respected his opinion. Respect, however, can absolutely exist simultaneously with disagreement. This sounds elementary—indeed, it’s a tenet that should be taught (along with so many other important and overlooked things) more vigorously to kids at school and at home. How many seemingly intelligent, influential adults have yet to learn this basic reality?

The laugh was spontaneous, born from an immediate and deeper knowing. I laughed because I had this potentially negative thing in front me, easily ego-assaultive and it could have hurt. It could have stung. It could have affected my opinion of myself as a writer.

It didn’t.

I saw there, plainly before me, an attack on something I’d created and I knew (plainly) that the attacker was wrong. I’m an energetic possessor of the belief that truth, real truth, need no vigorous defense. Truth speaks for itself. The moon in a night’s sky is still the moon, regardless of the madman laughing at it from below. I’m not diminishing the review itself by making this comparison. It, for the reviewer, may have been a kind of truth. Though it was not my truth. And standing like a blazing angel in front of me was a thing I’d like to call Confidence, Knowing, the Moon in the sky.

This was not my first encounter with this angel. I suppose it or another of its kind was there in that mountain field with me that day in June when I decided to give up a steady, well-paying, well-benefitted job and pursue this path full-time. I’m sure every writer has experienced some variation of the same. If they haven’t before committing to this, I’d say they’re a little nuts, or they need more time.

Every craft can be improved. No one is an island unto themselves. Sure. This reality is also like the moon in the sky. Confidence, though, born of Knowing that your stuff comes from a place beyond the “you” of normal, day-to-day living; beyond the “you” of shopping for car insurance or making trips to the grocery store, is a special thing indeed. I still LOL when I encounter it—not in reaction, but in joy, a laughter from the belly of the Buddha.


Will Burcher is a former police officer and current author of “The GAIAD,” a story of ancient secrets not quite forgotten and the positive power of global perspective. He lives and works in Colorado, USA.


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