Monday, September 12, 2011

Selective Memory Loss

I was chatting with my dad last night about the World's Greatest Sport (we're both baseball junkies). We were watching the 49ers win (a few thousand miles apart but still able to enjoy the game together - don't you just love technology?) and complaining that football has officially taken over the airwaves and overshadowed the pennant races as it does every September. The conversation wandered through coaching and mental toughness when my dad brought up one of my favorite jokes on Major League Relief Pitching.

"What's a reliever's best friend? A short memory."

You can't fixate on yesterday's shelling. Or yesterday's success. You have to enter each game as a blank slate.

Today, on one of my writer loops, there is a conversation about bad reviews. I mean nasty, awful, dreadful, worst-book-ever-written style reviews. The kind that actually make us laugh they are so over-the-top vitriolic. A bunch of authors were posting clips of their worst reviews (and they were jaw-droppingly horrible). Now, I'm not immune. I've gotten some whoppers. But I realized I couldn't jump into the Worst Review Ever competition. Why?

Selective memory loss.

I remember that I got shelled, but in a vague, yep-that-happened kind of way. The words themselves blurred.

Even though I could easily have looked up those one-star gems to refresh my memory, I decided not to. The good it might do (of giving me something to laugh about on the loop) couldn't compare to the harm it might do (of undermining my confidence when I'm trying to plow through The Book That Will Not Die).

Writers are like relief pitchers. We need that blank slate. That short memory. And a certain amount of tunnel-vision.

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