I’m not much of a morning person. I can and I have, at times, been required to awake at O’Dark Thirty on a regular basis — like when I worked in commercial roofing and landscaping. If I have to see 5 a.m. I prefer to encounter it because I’ve been up all night, not at the sound of the alarm clock. I’m fortunate to be employed in a position where I don’t often need to rise with the Sun. Xmas morning with children, however, is painful for the night owl. These little creatures who require being dragged from the sheets on a school day, miraculously leap from their beds, propelled neither by alarm nor parental threat on December the 25th.
I assumed, with age, my children would approach Xmas morning with more reasonable attitudes towards the proper time to “open gifts.” With great expectations I envisioned this Christmas to be one of those years. My children are, after all, no longer children. They are 24, 22, 21, 19, and 18 years of age. Imagine my disappointed when on Christmas Eve they discussed suggested wake up times that began as early as six o’clock… “in the morning?” I asked in disbelief.
After much negotiating, we arrived at several concessions and an agreement. I would be amicable to eight a.m. and agree not to change the locks on the doors, provided the coffee was prepared in advance of my awakening and as long as I could have one cup prior to the gift round-up. During the aforementioned initial cup of caffeine there would be no questions for which my response was required. The contract was executed without breach, which brings me to the point of this post. People react to gifts in different ways. There are two types of gift receivers. The first are those who excel at the proper display of emotional gratitude – “I love this,” “this is perfect” and “thank you so much.” The second type may feel the same way, but they just aren’t comfortable with such displays and it takes a while for the appreciation to be exposed.
My wife and four of our five children belong to the former group. It’s easy to see when a gift has hit the intended mark. The smiles, the joy, the appreciation all evident in their words and expressions. My daughter and I belong to the latter group. We love the things we receive, but we aren’t great at displaying the joy or appreciation. We have both spent time working on our emotional-gift responses and have improved our reactions, but there is still some way to go. It’s hard to explain, but neither of us are comfortable receiving gifts or being on stage while opening them.
In many ways a book review is the same process. The reader receives a gift of words, the writer waits with anticipation as the gift is opened, and then watches the reader’s emotional reaction. Did they love it? Did they like it? Did they provide a pleasant smile all the while searching for the gift receipt? It is, of course, a one-sided exchange. The reader ranks the book with a number of stars and perhaps some words that describe how they felt about the gift. I’ve often considered using a similar system for holiday gift exchange – “Hey look honey, our son gave that new watch a 5-star review.”
What the reviewer doesn’t realize is that every writer also provides an unwritten, purely in his head, review of the reviewer. Since Amazon doesn’t provide a place for writers to review reviewers, I thought it important to share it here on my blog. The formula I use is much more objective than the review process a reader employs because their is a direct correlation. If a reviewer gives X-stars then that is equal to an X-star response. The response to Stars doesn’t change regardless of the reviewers explanation of cause, so it is a simple ranking system to follow. There may be a few variations among writers -that is some may publicly claim they “learn” from low rankings, but I am confident that regardless of the “learning,” my response rankings system remains fairly accurate.
Reader gives 5-Stars: We are best friends because obviously the reader is an intelligent and insightful person worthy of my efforts to maintain a continued relationship.
Reader gives 4 -Stars: We are friends and while I believe the reader to be a bit of a perfectionist and at times difficult to please, I do understand that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
Reader gives 3 -Stars: No friendship here, but we can maintain a civil although distant acquaintance whereas I say nothing further and the reader agrees to further educate themselves so that his or her future reviews demonstrate a better recognition of my talent.
Reader gives 2-Stars: Obviously this misguided and illiterate soul should not be reading books. I’m certainly not going to subject myself any further to his lunacy as both me and my Mom recognize my talent and obviously don’t require the opinion of this poopie head.
Reader gives 1-Star: You Are Dead To Me – you never existed and you didn’t read my book.
Happy Holidays to You and Yours!