Today, I finished reading the book (well, listening to the audiobook, anyway) Crazy Rich Asians.
I had read the book, because I had enjoyed the film, and discovered that it was based on a book, and that there was actually a whole little series of books, and that it was written by a man…, and my interest was piqued… especially by that last fact.
I had just recently been to Singapore a couple times, so the film easily held a little warm spot in my heart, especially since they go to eat at one of my favorite places in the world to eat (the hawker stand when they first arrive to Singapore).
At long last, I got hold of the audiobook, and dove in, and, though it was different from the film, I enjoyed it.
I mean, I knew it would be different from the film – books always are different from their film counterparts.
Except, perhaps, The Princess Bride… that one is purty darn near exactly the same…, though it does have slight differences still…
Anyway, two things came from this, but I’ll wait…
Whenever I finish a book, I let goodreads.com know, and it adds to my list of books read.
It also sends me an e-mail: You finished [fill in the blank book]. What’s next?
And then it gives a brief bit about the book, including the first few reviews on it, and then info on the author and how to follow him on the website, and, finally, other books that people who read this same book also liked/read.
On this e-mail, I saw part of a review that interested me, and so I clicked and was led to the full review, which I read.
The writer of the review and I had very different impressions from the book – I very much enjoyed it, and she was somewhat annoyed by most of it.
I easily disregarded the review, knowing full well that I often disagree with most reviews I see of books.
(Also, I almost never accept film recommendations, because people seem to have such terrible taste in films and in film quality…)
I have certain people I trust with book recommendations, and I rather distrust most others in the world for a book (or film) recommendation.
But this got me thinking more on the book…
There are probably loads of people who dislike and have terrible and ugly things to say about just about any book, right?
As JRR Tolkien wrote in the beginning of the 1976(?) edition of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, there will be always those who dislike things he likes, and also who dislike the way he told these stories.
(He said a lot more, but that is the most relevant part in this conversation.)
As I thought about the film’s being so different from the book, I found myself wanting to talk to the author, Kevin Kwan, and to ask him how he felt about that all, and what his thoughts were on it…
Is it not basically a group of individuals declaring that your story was good, but just not good enough?, I thought at him in our mental interview within my own mind.
Then, it had me wonder, What is it like with reading the various reviews of your books by readers? All those nasty comments and thoughts…Do you just ignore them entirely and never read them, because that isn’t why you wrote them, anyway? You wrote them for those who would enjoy them?
And this idea had me think about whether it mightn’t be a good idea to go ahead and gather together people who love me, and have them tell me how they dislike or do not like something that I have done or created… practice the rejection, so to speak.
Not to experience the suffering, but to learn to separate their unkind words from my own satisfaction and pleasure from the work I have produced… to aid me in learning to love my creations period, with no dependency on what others’ opinions are, good or bad.
My mood is up to me, and my art can be perfect just for me… everything else is insignificant.
If it brings others joy, yay: joy for them and for myself.
If it doesn’t bring others joy, yay: joy for myself.
That’s why I wrote/made/created it, anyway, was for myself, right?
In some way, anything I create must be for myself… it is something I was ready to express, and in this particular form at this particular time… it is for myself that I do it, whether I realize or acknowledge it or not.
Yet, those bad reviews really stick with us… as I recently was called to consider from a quote by Orson Welles:
Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that’s printed about him.
So, I wonder, how can we move past that?
How can we be untouched by the bad reviews?
And, even, the good reviews, too, for, if they suddenly were to cease, would we be saddened?
How can we be self-sustaining in our joy and satisfaction with our own art, and untouched by the opinions of others?
The second idea was about how films are always different from the book, even when the book is spectacular already.
Why must the book always be changed?