Tuesday 1 March 2011

I Quit

I quit painting watercolours.

I haven't painted in years. Pre-computer instead of twittering I used to relax by throwing paint at paper and convincing myself that my ducks looked like ducks and not runny egg yolk and the brown patch was a mountain and not that I'd tipped over the paintpot. Throwing paint at paper is so relaxing but (unless I'm having fun with the kids) I don't bother because I'm artistically challenged and it's messy. I'm the one who has to clean up now.

I quit playing the guitar.

Because I'm tone deaf and really couldn't play anything more challenging than 'Mull of Kintyre' and I played that really, really slowly. In fact, in an alternate universe another version of me is still giving that first performance. I did however think I looked cool with a guitar strapped to my back.

I'll never quit singing.

Even though, as already stated, I'm tone deaf. If my wonky notes are bothering you, leave the room. Or maybe the area because I am loud. For a quiet girl I can bellow.

And now, I've quit Skull Salad Reviews.

I don't enjoy writing reviews. I suck at writing them and I'd stress for days about what to put in them--I'm not a natural reviewer. I signed up to the site because I like getting reviews (good or bad) and it was my karmic way of giving back to the small press. Only I didn't feel I was giving back. I only mentioned the stories I liked and didn't mention those I didn't when a true reviewer will balance a review with both, and those are the reviewers we trust. Those are the reviewers we want and need. So I quit. And now I can devour my to read pile without having a panic attack about what to say about this story or that. I can simply come here and say, 'Wow, I just read this incredible story and you should read it because I know awesome when I see it.' And I do give back, I beta read friends books, I donate to magazines, I buy small press books, and I read small press stories and will continue to do so, so let me end with...

I read these two stories today and they're awesome...

Running Empty in a Land of Decay by Damien Walters Grintalis
Liminal by E. Catherine Tobler


Aaron Polson said...

We'll never quit you, Cate. And you give back more than anyone I know.

Unknown said...

Ah well. Reviewing isn't for everyone. And I get where you're coming from on not liking to write about the stories you don't like. I do, but I always try to be diplomatic about it.

At least the rest of the writing shall not be quitted. Is that right? If not, feel free to rewrite it. :)

Damien Walters said...

Cate, I saw the title of this post and my heart jumped in my throat. Thank goodness you're not quitting writing. I think many, many folks (me included) would smack you silly! You have way too much talent to quit writing.

I understand how you feel about reviews; I have trouble simply rating books on Goodreads.

And thank you very much for the short story mention. 'Tis much appreciated.

Cate Gardner said...

My veins run with so much sugar, no one can give me up, Aaron. I mean, I eat too many chocolates not that I'm sweet because I'm not, I'm EVIL.

It really isn't, Gef. I'm thankful for people like your goodself.

I click the stars on Goodreads and run away very, very quickly, Damien.

Michael Stone said...

I'm with you 100% on reviewing. It's difficult enough at the best of times, but when you're a writer reviewing other people's books, the phrase beginning "People in glass houses..." is never far from your mind. Awarding stars on goodreads gives me panic attacks! :)

And guitars strapped to backs are the epitome of cool.

Simon said...

I was like Damien- I saw the blog title and gasped in horror, thinking you were going to quit writing or blogging! So thank god you're not.

Still, with the reviewing, I can understand it. I had to do my share of reviews for a couple of magazines, and rarely enjoyed it- there was too much stuff I couldn't really slag off, which was perfectly good and ticked all the right boxes, but didn't light me up either. The reviews ended up boring and lacklustre, and life's too short to read stuff you don't like.

But yes, SO glad this blog's be here to brighten our days up, and that you'll still be writing new stories. We need them... ;-)

Word verification: nativica. It's almost a proper word.

Katey said...

Dammit, Aaron stole my line! I'll never quit you... either.

And yeah, I understand. I feel like when I read something I really SHOULD leave a review, but then sometimes I can't. So I only end up doing it for the things I really adore.

God knows you've paid it all forward long ago... and then did more when you read a certain book a few months back. AHEM. <3

As expressed on twitter, thanks for the heart stoppage. Reminds me how much I like living :D

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

You're a good bean, Cate. But I'd guess you judge yourself to harshly when it comes to all your talents.

I don't enjoy writing book reviews all that much either, but when something does excite me I want other people to give it a shot, hopefully devour it.

Just enjoy yourself. Life's fun, lady! And it's short.

Danielle Birch said...

I don't review either because I'm crap at it. I will plug a book if I like it and just say a few short words.

K.C. Shaw said...

There's nothing wrong with giving something a try and deciding it wasn't for you.

I talked my mom into doing Skunk Cat reviews, but she gets so stressed over them I feel bad about it. Some people just don't want to review, which is fine.

Fox Lee said...

I gave up guitar, too, for the same reasons. I want to learn the bass, though. Partly because I have a deep, one-sided bond with Matsu (the man). Which is healthy. Crazy would be if I thought he reciprocated ; ) Also the bass is named Matsu.

Kimbra Kasch said...

Can't do it all

Bobbie Metevier said...

I'll review something on Amazon to help support my writerly friends, but I'm not a natural reviewer either. I'm always praying that no one sends me something bad or asks me to review something horrid, because I would be honest. I'd give it one star if it deserved one star, etc.

I've been lucky so far. :)

Ray Cluley said...

I often enjoyed reading a skull salad review, but your reasons make complete sense. I only do he occasional 'recommended' write up myself, now.

(A book about men in pinstripe suits looks set to head there soon - mine arrived yesterday and I read a couple stood in the hallway, the packaging on the floor around my feet as I buried Sam, flew with balloons made of little bird lungs, and watched dandelions disperse on a breeze. Great stuff.

Ray again said...

And one day I'll learn to write 'the' instead of 'he', and close my brackets.

Cate Gardner said...

Sometimes I wish we could award extra half stars on Goodreads, Mike.

I'll admit my evil genes couldn't resist titling the blog 'I Quit', Simon ;)

Apologies, Katey :D

I'm amazed at how many people don't like writing reviews, Lee

:D Danielle

Your poor mum, Kate.

I see you with a bass, Natalie.

True, Kim

I'll admit I once didn't star a book on Amazon because I didn't want to give it a one star, Bobbie. I'm a wimp.

Thanks so much, Ray. :D

Anonymous said...

Few things are cooler than a guitar strapped to one's back, regardless of the context.