Yesterday, I found myself searching Amazon for books about arranging choral music. I confess that though I have been a published arranger for nearly forty years, I have never read a book on choral arranging. Make of that what you will. (Mostly, it says that I tend to learn everything the hard way.) I was curious to find something that might grab my attention. To be honest, it recently occurred to me that I might attempt to write a book on choral arranging for church choirs. So, I was also checking to see if there was any competition I needed to be aware of. (There doesn’t seem to be much.)
Anyway — While I was snooping about at Amazon, I confess to doing something I suspect a lot of sadly insecure and needy writers do: I checked to see what sort of comments my book, The Craft of Christian Songwriting, had received. Now I did this with some genuine apprehension. In this Anonymous Age of the Internet, society has grown coarse to the point of hateful when it comes to commenting on just about every topic under the sun, from household appliances, to politics, to book reviews. Knowing full well there are people always at the ready to vent their spleens about the most mundane things – (Not that my book is mundane. It’s not. Really) – I girded myself to read the worst sort of acid-tongued criticisms from perfect strangers. The only thing I feared more than discovering a collection of “I hated this book with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns” comments was that there would be no comments at all.
There were comments. Not a lot. Less than a dozen. And one was a comment on how quickly the book was delivered to the reader, so it doesn’t really count. The competitive A-student in me wanted there to be more. But hey, it could’ve been worse. Lots of books on Amazon get zero comments, so I’m not the Loser of All Losers in the Comments War. What was cool to see was that the comments were all positive. One or two might even be described as “glowing.” And since my Mom passed away long before the book was published, I know she didn’t write any of them under a pseudonym.
The kind words lifted my spirits, to say the least. If any of you reading this blog authored of any of those comments, I thank you – not only for the comment, but for reading my book. (And if you haven’t yet read my book, well – I think you know what you need to do as soon as you finish reading this post.)
It is amazing how a civil, kind word can change a person’s day, isn’t it? I don’t get a lot of comments here at this site, but the ones I get are always positive. I’d love to get more. I really like to hear from you, the reader. Also, I think it would be great it if this blog became a place where Christian songwriters, church musicians, arrangers and dramatists could connect not only with me but with one another. So, if you have a question or an insight, share it with me and the dozen or so confirmed readers I have here. (This is still a very exclusive club, don’t ya know?)
And in the meantime, keep making music.