Guest blogger today is Steve May. Steve is a missionary, a pastor, and a writer. He’s also my son.
Working for the Critics
Early reviews of some of the books we now consider classics.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: ”Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics.” –The London Critic, 1855
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: ”Will appeal to sentimental cynics, cynical sentimentalists…Readers less easily thrown off their trolley will still prefer Hans Andersen.” –Time Magazine, 1937
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: “The only consolation which we have in reflecting upon [this book] is that it will never be generally read.” –James Lorimer, North British Review, 1847
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner: ”The final blow-up of what was once a remarkable, if minor, talent.” –The New Yorker, 1936
If you write for the critics or work for the critics or preach for the critics, you’ll end up frustrated and disappointed. Critics often fail to recognize greatness, even when it’s under their nose.
That’s why we must memorize — and learn to live by — Paul’s words: Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
To find out more about Steve May and Project Brasil or to subscribe to his Monday Memo, visit www.stevemay.com.
Pitty Patter.blogspot.com/ pittypatter.blogspot.com says
Very interesting, those old-time reviews. Shows us how thoughts and ideas–and definitions of art–change with the generations. Thank Steve for me. Would like to meet him sometime. pl
Dorothy Johnson says
I really like your son’s thoughts. I’ve been thinking a lot about how God defines success in a different way than the world. Obviously, those critics weren’t as all-knowing as they thought!