Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Relief for Writers: Words of Liberation from Salman Rushdie

A while back I watched Allan Gregg In Conversation with Salman Rushdie, and they hit on a topic that struck me deeply: being disliked as a writer. Of course, we all know that in our heads, but does it ever filter down to our hearts? It hurts to be disliked. That's how our hearts react--they hurt.

So when Salman Rushdie described the realization that there will always be people who don't like your work as a "liberation," I actually felt a bit of the pressure of life as a writer lift.

I rewatched the episode and typed out the relevant bit (I'm sure there must have been an easier way, but oh well) and here is the part that impacted me most deeply:

One of the things you learn as a writer—and, in my case, rather more so—is that you don’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try to do the best you can, no matter how many fans or people who like what you do there may be, there will be people who don’t like it, full stop, and that’s true not just of me because of what happened with The Satanic Verses, that’s true of all writers everywhere.
There’s a certain point where you see that as a liberation. Once you give up the idea of everybody loving you, you realize you’re going to have people who like what you do, you’re going to have people who dislike what you do, and that’s okay.
~Salman Rushdie on Allan Gregg In Conversation

If you'd like to watch the full conversation it is available here (hopefully worldwide, but since it was aired on TVOntario there might be restrictions):

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