Reputation, reputation, reputation! O! I have lost my reputation. I have lost
the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago,
-Shakespeare, Othello, Act II Scene iii
Wikipedia states that "reputation" is an ego construct which exists as a mechanism of social control. (My emphasis)
This past week I watched a co-contributor's rep go down in fiery flames due to a perverse and disastrous email exchange with a third party. Emotions ran white-hot, and in the rare and strange medium of email and the internet, unconscionable and irretractable things were written. And thus the escalating war of words was spread throughout the blogosphere and my fellow writer's rep is now dust in a box.
Personally, I am not involved beyond having a story published in the same anthology, however, I feel for the guy. There but for many, many years of subjecting my work to critique groups, lots of therapy and 12-step groups, go I. I am also a very hypersensitive individual. My work means a lot to me, as everyone's does.
But here's the truth: The only opinion that matters is that of the editor who buys your work. You submit and submit and submit, and eventually, you'll find someone who resonates emotionally with your work. Don't pay any attention to those who don't. As my great writing teacher and mentor Pam Goodfellow says, "just smile and nod." It's a bobble-headed response to bad reviews. Don't waste any time trying to change anyone's opinion, let your work speak for itself. You'll cultivate mystery and dignity that way.
Now that I've blogged about this I can hopefully stop obsessing about it and let it go. My life seems to be a continuous string of serial obsessions...