One of the best things about going on vacation with my kids is the new things I learn. While in Alaska with my daughter, Andi, and my son, Adam and his wife, Emily, I learned many new things:
- How to play Hearts
- How to get the most frequent flyer miles for my dollar
- How to use a digital SLR camera
I’m sure there were other things I learned that I’ve already forgotten. But, tonight, over dinner with Andi on this last night of our vacation, I learned something “bloggable” — a new word: HumbleBrag.
I’d never heard the word before. Urban Dictionary defines it as:
Subtly letting others know about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or “woe is me” gloss.
My first response was, “There must be a Twitter hashtag for that.” This prompted Andi to check it out, and sure enough, there is. Here are a few examples of #humblebrag:
Chris Waldenburg @Waldenbizzle Lame. Only got in 15 of my planned 17.5 miles run before the park closed and I got kicked out. #HumbleBrag
Outasight @Outasight7 Some artists take themselves too serious. I’m the kinda guy who has his plaques on the floor of his garage behind the lawn mower #humblebrag
“Twenty-three 5-star Amazon reviews and I can’t get that one 2-star review out of my head?”
Oooh. Sorry. That’s a humblebrag all right: a toot-of-my-own-horn followed by the seriously self-effacing, humbling 2-STAR REVIEW!! But, it’s a humblebrag with a purpose. It’s curious–though not surprising–that no matter how many good reviews an author receives, we can’t easily let go of the bad reviews.
So, while on my magical Alaskan cruise, I sat on the deck of the ship gritting my teeth and biting my nails , pondering as I watched whales and glaciers. In the end, here’s what I thought about that review:
- I’m grateful that (1) the reviewer read The Red Kimono and (2) took the time to critique it. I don’t like to ask people to write reviews, so I appreciate when someone takes the time to do so.
- Though there were things this reviewer both did not like AND disagreed with, he/she wrote an excellent review–critical and detailed.
- Several of the points made were valid, such as, “it seemed as though the author was taking on more than what could be handled in a novel of its length.” As many of you know, the story I originally intended to tell in one book had to be split into two books. I’m willing to consider that perhaps the story I chose to tell in the first book was too much for one book.
- Though there were things with which I did not agree, I think it’s best that authors not debate their reviewers, no matter how tempting. We’re all entitled to our opinions.
- Sometimes, there is much to be gained from a critique. For example, this reviewer felt my characters were not well-developed. Whether I agree or not, I will certainly remember that comment as I develop my future characters.
True, my instinct is always to come to the defense of The Red Kimono, even with my trusted critique group members. But, there’s no purpose in that. We each come to our opinions based on our past experiences and our perceptions of those experiences. In fact, that’s one of the themes of The Red Kimono–to learn about each other’s differences and accept them.
Okay, enough of my demonstrating the meaning of new word. Now, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few photos of our awesome trip to Alaska.