Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Attending Your Own Viewing

First off, I still haven't heard from Wren about her prize in my contest. Wren, if you are out there, please send me an email at klmaw@aol.com. Thanks!

On to today's post. (Aren't you just trembling with anticipation?)

Over the weekend my parents were invited to attend a surprise viewing for a dear friend. Why was this a surprise? Well, for two reasons: this friend was still living, and she didn't know about the somber event.

Let me explain. Her hubby, who is a practical jokester, decided to go all out for his wife's fiftieth birthday. And by all out, yes, I do mean he staged his own wife's viewing as a surprise.

She came home to find the house decorated for a funeral. A real casket loomed in the front room. Pictures chronicling her life stood on easels around the house. A register book lay ready for guests to sign in and give their condolences. And large funeral arrangements of flowers--dead flowers--surrounded the casket. To top this all off, a sign sat by the front door that read, Please enter with reverence. And a companion sign inside the house read, Please join us in mourning Cindy's youth.

How did this remarkable woman handle this? With grace and humor. She sat beside the casket as the guests arrived and went through the funeral receiving line. She smiled and laughed as she accepted black-wrapped gifts and black balloons. She didn't even cart her hubby out of the house in the casket.

What does this have to do with writing? And, yes, it really does have something to do with it, I promise.

As a writer, you have to be willing to attend your own viewing sometimes. Well, your manuscript's viewing anyway. And just like how my mother's friend wasn't dead yet, it might not be time to actually bury the thing, but you may need to sit back and listen with a smile as friends and strangers stop by to review it.

The best thing about this is, most viewers/critiquers will have some great things to say about your manuscript's life. They will also have some less happy things to remember, and since you still have time left before it enters the coffin, you can fix those problem areas. True it can be a little awkward to still be living at your own viewing, but what an opportunity! It's like you get to cheat death and rewrite your manuscript's life. How great is that?

Have you learned to accept critiques with grace and humor? Are you ready to attend your own viewing? I am.


Jonene Ficklin said...

Number one, I love your blog's new look.

Number two, that friend's husband is lucky he isn't in that casket right now.

Number three, ah, handling critiques with grace and not burying the manuscript. Working on that!

Great blog, Leisha!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm going through a viewing right now, of my latest MS. It's a lot easier than many of the viewings of the past for two reasons: my critiquers rock and my story is resonating with them enough that they have cool praise as well as crits. So it's all good. :)

p.s. I answered your question today! Thanks! :)

Patti said...

That is a hilarous birthday party idea. I'm not sure how I would have handled it.

Great analogy too. We do have to be prepared to view our own work, sometimes it's hard, but other times it's reaffirming.

Jenilyn Tolley said...

I'm so bad at stepping back while people review my stuff. But I agree, it's important.

As a random side not, my first memory of my father-in-law is him dressed as the Grim Reaper at my father's 40th birthday party.

Carolyn V. said...

I love the analogy! I've attended many of my ms's funerals. It's sad. But the good thing is that I've learned something each time. =)

m. christine weber said...

Great post! Excellent comparison. I'm totally tweeting a link to it :-).

Happily Cheesy said...

Lol! I'm going to have to remember this one. It sure feels like you're attending your own viewing when people review you book. Elephant skin. All writers need it, right?

LeishaMaw said...

Jonene, I agree, the man is one lucky guy to still be breathing. He he.

Susan, I love it when I get praise for my work, but I appreciate the tough love just as much. Without it, my words would really be dead.

AND, thanks for answering my question! I laughed myself silly. :)

Patti, I'm not sure how I would have handled it either. I'd like to think I'd roll with it, but maybe I would have just crawled in the casket and shut the lid. LOL.

Jenilyn, so, everytime you see your father-in-law do you see the Grim Reaper in your mind? I'm so curious to know if you secretly call him that. :)

M. Christine, thanks! And an extra thanks for tweeting about it. :)

Happily Cheesy, is that why I'm getting so many wrinkles? Here I thought it was age related. I feel soooo much better now. He he.

L.T. Elliot said...

I think that is the coolest thing I've ever heard of. Seriously, what a great husband and what a killer wife for being so gracious about it.

Speaking of grace, you are an excellent example of grace. You took a crit in one of the most rare, lovely ways. You're amazing!

LeishaMaw said...

L.T., thanks! But what a great crit it was. Double thanks. :)


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