It is my hope that this entry proves that not all of my Self-Reflection posts are tragic or self-diminishing. In fact, it’s a rather positive one, the result of some very nice feedback I’ve received of late regarding my writing.
Several weeks ago I received a note from a musician I support on Patreon where she wanted to know more about her fans. I mentioned that she was part of the inspiration that lead me to posting my own stories here and that I was truly awed by the work she had put into her art, and how it has resulted in such a large following. She actually replied to my email, which caught me by surprise, and even asked if there were a particular story I would suggest starting on. That she was interested in what I had to say was mind-blowing to me; here was someone with over 1,000 contributing patrons, performing concerts all over the world, wanting to read what I had created!
I sent her a link to one of my stories, Shallow Steps, and didn’t really expect to hear back from her. My wife and I actually went to a concert of hers for our anniversary when she was in the Bay Area, and afterward I again congratulated her on what her hard work had wrought – she sold out a standing-room-only show at the Filmore, filled with fans who were moved and inspired by her music. I linked to a post I had made about Patreon called Giving, wherein which I talk about asking for and receiving help from others, something she talked about struggling with.
What I didn’t expect was for her to not only respond, but also directly address my work! It absolutely made my week when I received the below message (edited to remove unrelated content), again sent through Patreon’s message system:
Christopher! I just read the piece you shared with me and I so thoroughly enjoyed it! You are such a talented writer! I loved this line: “nodding to the bouncer with a nonchalance he did not feel.” …
also–LOVED what you wrote about Patreon, and I’m so glad there are people like yourself that see it that way. Thank you!
While I have shared some of my writings with friends and colleagues before, I’m not big on self-promotion and really hadn’t ever sent much out for others to read, particularly those who intimidate me with their skill, expertise, or experience. It really hartened me to get such positive, specific feedback about my work, and I hope she sees more of my writing that she enjoys, whether it’s fiction or otherwise.
The other day I discussed my love for astronomy and how seeing the Moon through a telescope for the first time literally changed my life. I mention several prominent female Twitter astronomers, and where possible I tried to get their permission to include them. After getting their okay I published the post and sent out a link to each. Again, to my amazement, several of them responded favorably, saying things like “this is great!” and “that’s lovely!”
In the past several weeks I’ve had someone who has helped inspire me to write (and post) content and several people whose work in the sciences I respect and admire all praise how I handled a variety of topics, and that makes me really smile. In the aggregate it doesn’t wholly change my trepidation about sharing my work, but right now I can really focus in and mark that these are highlights, marks of success.
I’ve been doing a lot more writing of late, much of which won’t be published for months and months (if my current release schedule holds), and I’m excited to keep creating content, even if feedback is rare. It’s my ultimate goal that people really enjoy the stories I tell, and the manner in which I tell them, and hopefully can relate in part to what is being presented.
Maybe someday someone will tell me that I was able to inspire them to create, to produce, and to publish their own work – what a truly humbling compliment that would be, a culmination of decades of working toward that end.