Negative Attitude


Once I was asked to write an obituary about someone I adored a lot. She was a school teacher and lived in the same building of my parents’ apartment. She loved my mother very much. When I was given the job by the secretary of the housing society I was a bit hesitant at first but accepted the request and set to do my work.


Tough part of the job was it wasn’t supposed to be an official obituary. Rather a homage in a meaningful way to convey her personality, her impact on her family, and the world around her.


I tried to make it personal and also decided to do away with the fog of grief and flowery phrases. But when it was read out in the meeting much was changed without my knowledge. Was it my writing at all? The spirit was not there.


I didn’t react but fumed within and wasted much of my energy in doing that. I did let my ego hurt so easily. Later on I was ashamed to think that I was that fragile. It wasn’t even a direct negative criticism. May be the editor preferred high-sounding phrases and replaced some of the words and sentences. May be even the vital ones. If some people choose to be impertinent why should I suffer?


Vituperative outbursts are a very common feature in social media. What about in blogs? I am very fortunate to be surrounded by thoughtful, accommodating and amiable fellow bloggers. I haven’t come across any negative comment full of spite and bitterness so far. A blog is your sweet home where you entertain your visitors with words. But…there is a ‘but’. When you comment on someone’s work and your visit is not reciprocated day after day it begins to hurt your feeling. So once you are aware of the writers’ character trait, instead of harboring resentment and anger towards them it’s best to avoid such negative personality and attitude. I try to follow this rule.


Posted for Magaly’s Moonlight Musings: the Interactive Edition, #1 @ Poets United.


15 thoughts on “Negative Attitude

  1. Getting once work edit so drastically that it sounds nothing like us is tough. Once, I wrote a paper on philosophy of religion which my professor asked if he could publish in the school magazine. I was honored, then horrified when I read it. The edits made an a paper about the usefulness of learning about religions from a secular perspective into something that sounded like I was supporting creationism. After lots of fuming (and forms), I was able to remove my name from the thing. I was upset. But I think that I would be livid if someone changed what I wrote about a person who are respected and knew. You, my lady, are impressive.

    I really like your comment on commenting, and the way it sort of relates to passive criticism (even if that’s not the intention). I think it would make a fantastic interactive musing topic. Also, I deal with it in a way similar to yours.

  2. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if someone took my writing and changed it without my permission. As you say “Was it my writing at all? The spirit was not there.” We put our words together carefully with specific intent and once it is in the hands of another there’s not much we can do but hope they respect the final product and not alter it without asking. It should be a reciprocal partnership between writer and reader. The same holds true with comments, if you take the time to read and comment on others you hope they would offer the same courtesy to you.

  3. I’ve never had anyone change what I wrote. I can imagine it feels like a terrible insult.
    When someone doesn’t comment on my blog continuously after I’ve read and commented theirs, I think it’s more than justifiable to stop visiting their blog.
    I totally agree with you.

  4. Oh, it hurts to have something you’ve poured your spirit into to be edited until it isn’t recognizable. I get behind in my responses to writing, but I never totally neglect someone who has taken time to read and comment on my work. I am grateful for every reading.

  5. Having one’s words changed to suit someone else’s point of view, putting it out there under one’s name, is downright fraud – in my book. It happened to me once before and I raised hail columbia. It got fixed. I don’t like words being put in my mouth I never would’ve uttered. They should’ve asked your permission to edit. Shrugging these things off can be detrimental to one’s reputation and integrity as an honest writer.

  6. I like your reasoning after your reasoning on the obituary you wrote was edited without your knowledge. Maybe the editor wanted a certain tone after all. What is important you did your best.

    As for social media and blogs, this resonates with me “When you comment on someone’s work and your visit is not reciprocated day after day it begins to hurt your feeling.” I recently spoke about this in one of my latest posts. Where I said “reciprocity is not mandatory” because I’ve been experiencing this myself with some blogs I read. It was a note to myself that it’s not compulsory for me to read them if they can’t do the same for me. Then there are no hard feelings. 🙂

  7. Yes, Sumana, negative criticism often comes from a negative attitude. I’m surprised that the committee changed your writing without your knowledge. However, internal fuming can be just as painful as criticism and I think it’s a good idea to share it with someone who is not connected to the critics.
    I agree with you about the thoughtful, accommodating and amiable bloggers with whom we share our work.

  8. I had something similar happen to me in the fifth grade. My suspicion is I had the right “look” (make of that what you will) for promotional material about the Catholic school I attended but were looking for a tone that was not naturally mine. It was awful. I don’t think you were being fragile by feeling hurt. You cared about the woman who passed on and crafted your words to honor her in the best way you could. But I do believe that just the act of writing all those feelings down was a good thing, so I’m glad you had the opportunity to do it.

  9. It’s easy to be hurt by negative talk. I believe that this is how we learn and grow. I too, am blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people on my blog. It feels my creativityAnd spurs me on to do better. A lovely post.

  10. Editing in a literary context is one thing; what you experienced seems unfair and was of course hurtful. I don’t think any editing should be done without even informing the author! In your case, perhaps it depends whether it was presented as something you wrote, with your name mentioned, or simply as the committee’s eulogy. I would be ropable if someone. Hanged my words and then presented them as coming from me. It happened once, long ago, with an inexperienced editor of a new literary magazine. I thought he not only changed my poem but did so for the worse. Let us just say he heard from me in no uncertain terms!

  11. You are a good person, Sumana. We need more like you. If after a while I don’t get comments returned I stop leaving mine. Avoid until I hear from that person again. Perhaps he/she doesn’t like me but is being polite. Occasionally I test the waters again. Or if I get really turned on for a certain post.

Thank You :)

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