The Author Doesn’t Get It

Over the years, I’ve intermittently received comments along the lines of “you don’t get/understand [fill in subject].”

What this usually means is “you can’t possibly understand.”

Occasionally, the commenter is correct. Very few people living – possibly only those with a near-death experience – can understand death from the first person personal view. Or being incinerated in a by a huge fireball. For everyone else, including authors, trying to portray such circumstances requires research, extrapolation, and imagination… and you still might not be accurate, which is why I don’t stray too far from what I’ve experienced and seen. I haven’t actually crashed an aircraft, but I have lost the only engine I had and survived the autorotation into a field, and I’ve rescued survivors of a crash moments after it happened and seen the bodies of those who didn’t make it.

And most times, though, this author does understand; I just might not “understand” it in the way the commenter feels or sees it. That’s only natural. We’re all different, the difference ranging from attitudes and feelings we share and understand about others to total emotional incomprehension.

I’ve given my best advice, both personally and professionally, and seen people disregard it… and then lose their careers and futures. I’ve also taken my own advice… and failed miserably on more than one occasion.

I doubt that I’ll ever feel the seemingly blind love and joy others take in personal weapons of mass destruction or feel the undoubting self-righteousness of a true believer, possibly because I’ve always had a lot of doubts. But that’s why I only portray such individuals from the outside. And most times, at least for me, that’s the best way, because people usually react to what they see and experience from others’ behavior.

Also… perspective matters – enormously. The man or woman who kills someone shooting up others is likely to feel a lot less guilt than someone who murders their boss over something trivial [but then, maybe not, given some bosses].

And, sometimes, the author doesn’t get it, but with good writers, that doesn’t happen as much as the critics think, if more than the author would like to believe.

2 thoughts on “The Author Doesn’t Get It”

  1. Grey says:

    It always seems that the level of vehemence in someone telling me I “don’t get it”* is inversely proportional to their ability to explain why using facts or logic…

    * with the exception of my early dating life…

  2. Postagoras says:

    The Internet can be a very unkind place, but there’s a kind tradition that many people use in comments. They add the acronym YMMV, which stands for “Your mileage may vary”, but which means that the commenter’s opinion is not necessarily universal.

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