Recognition is great, but breakfast is better

penguin fairy

The Recognition Fairy, caught between jobs.

I’m re-posting this from a couple years ago, mainly ’cause I’m under the gun to get my textbook finished before class starts in a couple weeks. Plus, when I posted this the first time I only had two or three folks interested in following my blog. Now I’ve got… Hell, I dunno. Several, at least! Anyway, here ’tis:

It’s nice to be noticed. It’s even nicer when someone singles out your work with a compliment. There’s something about that wiggly puppy feeling you get when the Recognition Fairy pops up, wand in hand, and sends a cloud of sparkly stuff swirling through the atmosphere. Even though, over at the EPA, some joy-killing bureaucratic cretin is sure to issue yet another air quality warning: “Whoa! Too much sparkly stuff! Stay inside! And remember to report any tiny, winged, humanoid creatures to the authorities.” (That last little call to arms is just dumb, since everyone knows the Recognition Fairy doesn’t take a humanoid form. Silly bureaucrats!)

I used to believe there was no such thing as too much recognition. Really, I did. I can’t believe anyone ever developed blisters from being patted on the back. It’s just not possible. The body would automatically secrete some sort of anti-hubris hormone which would, in turn, spark a wave of self-doubt and suspicion — Are they really just saying nice things, while deep down inside they hate my guts? It’s true. That’s exactly how these things work. I know; I took a science class in school back in <mumble>.

And then, of course, there’s the ugly flip-side of recognition. When it’s institutionalized, sprayed out like weed killer, and soaked up by a legion of the undeserving dressed in schlep’s clothing.North Korean officers Who wants that? Praise should not be doled out like Tic-Tacs from a plastic dumpster. Recognition, if we can be honest about it, should at least be more subtle than an Elvis impersonator. It needs a bit of soft sell. It can be contained in very few words. I’m particularly fond of: “Wow! Great job!” But that’s just me. Others may require something way more effusive, like: “I just finished reading your latest novel, and I’m still behind on my sleep. It’s going to take days to recover. I’ve never laughed so hard or wept so inconsolably. My emotions pegged both ends of the joy/despair spectrum as I followed your brilliant characters through one stunning adventure after another. If only I could have paid for the book two or three times! In fact, I’d love to send you a humble gift of cash if it will help to keep you writing.”

This, of course, may cause the Recognition Fairy to hemorrhage, so caution should be the by-word when it comes to gushiness. Crazy, right? Who knew?

So, if you’ve read something by me that you liked, feel free to spread the word. On Amazon, preferably, or Goodreads. FaceBook would be cool, too. Skywriting isn’t required, but it sure would be memorable.

Hm. Skywriting….

–Josh

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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