Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Man's a Man for a' that.

I am a woman. (Obviously.) Many of my followers are young ladies as well. I have five sisters. All of these are very plausible reasons as to why my posts tend to reference the female population more often than not.

But it recently came into my thoughts (and was subsequently brought to my attention) that we are not all women on this blog. There are a few young men of good taste and even better sense who follow The Inkpen Authoress and all this going on about "have a good day, girls" and "Hey ladies--hope you're having a great weekend" is rather unfair to the poor chappos. I am sorry, gents.

Wyatt Fairlead, a very sensible and judicious blogger at What My Mind Does, wrote me an email regarding this topic. The subject of the email was pertaining to this issue, but the manner and phrasing was what caught me:

"As I am sure you are aware I have been reading, "The Inkpen Authoress"  as a would-be lit. enthusiast and out of interest.  As I have read however I have noticed that you seem to focus on the female audience as you write.  I say this in no way to criticize, and I also realize that the vast majority of your followers are ladies.  In fact, as this realization dawned it occurred to me that perhaps your blog was more intended for ladies and I was in fact unintentionally intruding.  I am writing you to ask if this is the case, and if so, I will of course no longer comment and be a follower only in so much as...etc."

He goes on, but what the rest of the email said is of little consequence. This bit shows the great good sense of this young man. (and I hope the others resemble him in this respect.) Most fellows would have said something silly like, "Why do you talk so much about girls?" but Wyatt showed an honorable mind in wondering if he was, perhaps, the one intruding. Not so, of course, but I appreciated the thought. It showed a careful mind and gentlemanly impulse.
I have often noticed in conversation with Mr. Fairlead and other young men of my acquaintance, this tasteful hesitance to intrude, and yet careful pointing out of a flaw in my logic or behavior. It is the best sort of criticism to receive, for it is meant kindly and received kindly and all parties are the better for it. I hope I do not embarrass Mr. Fairlead by using him as a scape-goat for the thing I have been musing over for some time: A gentleman's point of view is sadly lacking in our girlish writing blogs.

I love girls. I am a girl. I live with girls. And yet I think there are not enough Wyatt Fairleads in our literary world. Think of that famed Inkling Club that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were a part of. I recall reading a description of it by C.S. Lewis himself wherein he stated that "We were not a mutual-admiration club."
Ouch. Because I love compliments on my writing. You love compliments on your writing. And yet compliments are not excessively constructive. I want my blog to be a place where we can grow as writers. I want you to be able to point out flaws or weaknesses so that I can grow in my craft. If I think I have arrived as a writer, Heaven help me. I don't wish this to be (in its entirety) a mutual admiration club. And I think the gentleman keep if from being such.
I do not intend to portray the male audience as pedantic, dictatorial, and critical mass of men. However, it is a characteristic of men that they are able to distance themselves from the emotion of a situation or piece of writing and see it for what it is--with all it's dangling participles and incorrect grammar. The gents keep us from becoming fan-girls and vain, silly writers.

In fact, I wish I had more followers of the gentleman variety. You are welcome, dear fellows, come pull us out of our complacent, feminine ruts. Whenever I see a chap who has decided to follow The Inkpen Authoress I smile to myself, mentally shake hands with him and say, "Ah! There's a Sensible Man."

So thank you, Wyatt Fairlead. I ow you and every other gentleman (though they are few) a real handshake someday for following this blog. I treasure all of my readers (male or female) and seek your constructive criticism and advice so that I might not make the mistake of being a complacently arrogant authoress. Don't let me become self-satisfied. That is the worst mistake any human being can make. So chaps? Feel free to join this blog and hang your hat on a peg. There's always a place for your sort. :)

1 comment:

Rosamund Gregory said...

Oh, thank you for this lovely post. I've wondered what would be quite the proper attitude towards a gentleman follower if I ever were to have any, and you slammed the slate down perfectly. (But not on Gilbert's head!)
Thank you, thank you, thank you!