Suffering the Slings and Arrows

September 17, 2010 at 11:41 am 2 comments

Well, I’m happy to say the newly released I Hate to Cook Book has found an eager audience, and is selling well.  The book is now in its third printing.  My publisher is still cheerfully answering my calls and e-mails.  And the majority of reviews have been quite favorable. 

Good thing.  Because, unlike my mother, Peg Bracken (who had rhinoceros skin when it came to bad press), I tend to take criticism to heart.  There have been one or two unkind critics who have looked dimly upon the idea of bringing out the book again.  And while Mom would surely slough these off if she were here, I admit to bristling when I read them.   (It’s not even my book, for heaven’s sake.) 

Now, under most circumstances I’m decisive and confident.  I’ve founded two successful businesses, and in my early retirement I’ve quickly transformed a passionate avocation into a packed weekly agenda.  Call me the classic go-getter.  Whatever.  It hardly matters.  Because despite my confidence in some areas, I simply do not have what it takes to endure what my author-mother and most artists do every day:  face the self-imposed censure that comes with the process of creation, then subject themselves to the glare of critics and fans. 

The predominance of the Internet, blogging and social media have sharpened this debate, I believe, inviting more non-professionals to throw their hat in the ring, and giving more people in general a bully pulpit from which to sound off.  But it’s also given the cover for some pretty shrill language and a lot of anonymous stone throwing.

At any rate, hats off to those artists who willingly lay themselves bare.  And, yes, a nod of respect for professional critics who have mastered the delicate art of disapproval without disrespect.


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Keen on the Cat’s Meow Walking in Mom’s Footsteps

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. pattilou58  |  January 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Jo, I came to your mother’s books thru my mom, who was born in ’27. Peg Bracken was a hilarious writer; and whenever I need a lift her books fill the bill. It sounds to me like she had a healthy attitude toward critics! I know this post is old, but today I’m heading over to buy a couple of her books-the re-released “I Hate to Cook” and her “On Getting Old for the First Time” since I’m heading that way myself. Thank you for helping to keep her beautiful memory alive.

    • 2. johannabracken  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      I hope you enjoy them, Patti Lou. Believe me, I can surely relate to Getting Old myself!


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