Monday, October 18, 2010

More on Moms and Thick Skin

My mom calls it as she sees it.

For example, when I made cheerleader both in high school and college she rolled her eyes and said:

“If you’re the cream, I’d hate to see the rest of the crop.”

Another example:

“Phyl isn’t a naturally pretty child like her baby sister, but I fix her up so good you can’t tell the damn difference.”

The Bourne sisters - 1966

Don’t worry. I’m pretty thick-skinned, so this didn’t hurt my tender feelings as a child or put on me on a psychiatrist’s couch as an adult moaning, “Mom liked her best.”

Just like reviews on my books, it’s simply one person’s opinion. I can take it and move on.

Still, even my Mom-thickened skin gets a bit thin when a mediocre review gets tossed in my face over and over again through Google alerts and sites that repeat book blog reviews.

I guess I could turn off those web reminders, but y’all know that’s easier said than done.

Instead, when I get the occasional mediocre review, I take comfort knowing I gave readers my very best effort.

And that, believe it or not, I’m Mom’s favorite!


Maria Zannini said...

I think you're adorable.

But I understand where you're coming from. I'm the oldest of six. The second in line was the 'pretty' one. And she knew how to wield her power. LOL.

It didn't bother me. I didn't feel my parents were making me feel less important. They were just making an observation.

But a mediocre review is different. Most often it's a poorly articulated review. People can dislike something about a story without getting ugly. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

It's how you express yourself that differentiates between a thoughtful observation and a jeer.

Liane Spicer said...

I also think you're adorable. And I understand the mother/sibling dynamics only too well. :/

One of the drawbacks of the Internet democracy is every one has an opinion and a forum to air it. As far as book reviews go, we just have to live with it, take the bad with the good - and don't let the bad demolish us. Looks like you have this covered. Way to go, Phyllis. And yes, it's easy to believe you're the favorite.

Farrah Rochon said...

So, mom didn't hold anything back, did she? Umm...yikes.

I believe Google Alerts is self-torture for authors. Apparently, I love self-torture, too, because I can't make myself turn it off.

I usually reread some of the great fan emails I've received when I get a meh review. At least I know that someone liked the book(s).

Kwana said...

You were the cutest child and are a fab adult too. Not to mention one great writer. Those stupid alerts are enough to make a person crazy. Can't stand them.
What you don't know can't hurt you right. Ugh. Move on. You know who you are!

Charles Gramlich said...

I might have benefited from your kind of upbringing but I'm rather glad my mother didn't say such things. She hurt my feelings enough as it was, even though it wasn't intentional. I'd written a scene one time with the main character getting up early in the morning and she laughed and said well that certainly isn't you! It actually hurt my feelings, although I never needed therapy. :)

Jewel Amethyst said...

Girl Phyllis I feel you. My mother had a way of taking me down a notch when I got too full of myself and yes, she did make me develop a very thick skin. It served me well in primary school since I bore some resemblance to Bugs Bunny and was always shorter and lighter than most of my classmates. You know how horrible kids can be.

It's Serving me as a writer now handling critique from editors to reviewers. As for google alerts, I don't have them on (before today, didn't realize they existed).

So Phyllis, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. You're stonger for it. And you were pretty darned cute as a child, and haven't lost it as an adult.

Phyllis Bourne said...

@Maria - Thanks, Maria! Unfortunately, neither of us got away with anything. My mom was always in trouble as a kid, so she stayed two steps ahead of us.

A few years ago, I had a kinda mean review. You're so right. Criticism is fair game. Meanness and jeers aren't.

@Liane - Thanks, friend! Weird how we only remember bad reviews????

And I AM THE FAVORITE! LOLOL!!!! Really! I am!

@Farrah - LOL! Mom doesn't edit herself.

I didn't set up a Google alert for OPC, because I knew I wouldn't be able to turn it off.

@Kwana - Thanks! Those alerts do drive you bonkers. You want to know, but you don't...

@Charles - I'm used to my Mom's way. It doesn't hurt my feelings. Just the opposite. It makes me laugh.

So when I told her I'd sold my second book and she huffed, "So I guess you expect me to go out and buy that one too." I laughed my butt off.

@Jewel - Exactly! I was really full of myself as a kid, and it drove my mom nuts. She nicknamed me 'Mrs. Kennedy', because I acted like I was married to the president.

Thanks for stopping by everyone!

notesfromnadir said...

Your mom sure had some great lines!

Don said...

First off, I see exactly where you get your great sense of humor from.

Second, you are a beautiful woman, anyone with eyes knows this. I had figured you were the older child by the smile and my guess proved correct.

I haven't published so I wouldn't understand everything concerning book reviews but I'd have to believe, just like everything else, if I honestly felt like I gave my best effort then I would be satisfied regardless of whomever else.

Can't please everyone, I heard.

Operation Prince Charming was a good and well written read, in my honest opinion.

Shauna Roberts said...

For what it's worth, I think you were a cutie.

ChelleC said...

You absolutely are adorable, and your wit definitely comes naturally, as does your Mom's. Whenever I need a belly laugh, I think of lines you and/or your Mom have said over the years. I just wish I could meet your parents. They must truly be a hoot together.

ChelleC said...

By the way, give me back my damned brown lipstick, willya?