You hear stories from time to time of famous writers or famous composers – or whomever – and how some popular book or piece of theirs was something they personally didn’t like very much, or conversely, how some obscure, unpopular creation was their favorite even though it never took off. It makes me wonder if it is possible for artists and musicians and authors to have real perspective on their own work.
Of course, if they don’t, it might not necessarily mean they don’t have a valid perspective. It could just mean they know things no one else does or can, that perhaps their view of the work itself might be altered by the larger story of the genesis of the idea, of the where’s and the when’s and the how’s of its creation.
I’m not a famous author, by any means, but I’ve noticed this a bit myself in interactions with readers over the years. My impression has been that by and large, my readers prefer the first book in my series, The Binding of the Blade, whereas I have a strong preference for the last book. To an extent I get it, as the first book in a series you enjoy is often a sentimental favorite, because it introduces you to a world and characters you enjoy, but on the other hand, I just can’t see it, as All My Holy Mountain is the culmination of all that series had been about.
As another example, I noticed today that my most recent Indie release, The Raft, The River, and The Robot had its second review at Amazon, which excited me until I saw it was only a 2 star review. I will admit to reading with some consternation as someone who claimed to be a big fan of my other work talked about how there was little or no story there and that he/she couldn’t recommend the book.
In my opinion, R3 is one of the best things I’ve done, right up there with even AMHM, and while I knew there’d be people who didn’t like it as much as I did, it was a little jarring to see that strong dislike. It made me wonder, do I just not have perspective?
So I turn to you, readers. Any thoughts out there? Not on R3, but on the larger question. Are musicians, artists and authors just too close to their work? Are they incapable of true perspective? Are they biased by their inside stories or simply out of the loop on the real value of their own creations?
What say you?