excerpt from my Sent folder: criticism

Well, first of all, it’s important to remember that a lot of criticism of your work really doesn’t have anything to do with your work or you. Your words may provide for some a launch pad to say something they want to say anyhow — these are the people who come to lectures and during the Q&A say “This is really more of a comment than a question” — and for others it’s an opportunity to strut and fret their hour upon the social-media stage, or to preen and flex in the mirror that your text provides them. It’s not about you, it’s about them, and in any case they’ll be on to something else that displeases them in an hour or two. So who cares?

But if someone takes the trouble to pay attention to what you’ve written, to grasp your argument and to show where they think it goes wrong, or to bring in evidence that you’ve neglected (or didn’t know about) — the price of that kind of thing is above rubies. But it’s very very rare.