To each his own.
It takes all kinds to make a world.
There’s no accounting for taste.
These are all familiar old sayings born of the inescapable fact that there are billions of people on Earth with billions of different styles. No two have the same desires, likes, dislikes, or opinions, and each has his or her unique point of view.
Those differences often result in people having completely opposing reactions the very same thing. While something might have an extremely positive effect on one person, it might negatively affect the next.
Like a food item, car model, movie or book.
Or a newspaper column.
Being a writer by trade for many years, I have had the opportunity to see peoples’ differing viewpoints in action in a big way. I can recall multiple instances during my time in Georgia when a single installment of my weekly musings sparked a vast range of feedback from readers.
And, of course, it’s no different in the Jillikins. I’ve had people tell me everything from they “really connect” to my ramblings to they “have no idea” what it’s all about. I’ve been told there’s an old-timer or two who look forward to reading my stuff each week, but I’m also aware that some folks think what I do is little more than a waste of good newspaper space.
Just last week, I received two almost polar-opposite sets of feedback about the same specific piece, one person sharing constructive criticism about how it could have been
better and the other gushing over the phone about how it made their day.
My unique viewpoint leads me to believe that both people were right. The piece just didn’t make much sense to the one person, while it tickled the other’s funny bone and pressed their sense of humor button.
Kind of like what happened seven or eight years ago after an emu got loose in downtown Cleveland, Ga., and evaded capture for most of a day. After I heard about how potential captors did as much running away from the big bird as they did chasing it, I wrote a piece about how Cleveland could become the new Pamplona, that town in Spain that annually stages the “running of the bulls” (note to self: add that to the anti-bucket list).
I clearly remember having a well-known community member tell me they “didn’t get it” and thought it was weird. But I also have a certificate from the Georgia Press Association that indicates the Running of the Emus piece took third in the “Best Humorous Column” category that year. Depending on who you talk to (the community member or the GPA judge), that column was either too strange or worthy of an award.
I’m glad it’s that way.
Lord help me the day I start pleasing everyone, and I guess it’ll be time to consider a new employment field if and when there’s nobody liking what I do.
Maybe it’s good that in a given week the subject of my column could be anything. If nothing else, that means the source of material should never run dry.
But then again, for everyone out there who likes the ever-changing, fluid and patternless nature of my weekly work, there’s someone else who wishes it would have more structure and actually offer something tangible.
For every reader who might enjoy it, there’s probably another who wishes it would go away.
In letters to the editor written by readers in Georgia, I was called – among other things – a “fake” and a “disgrace,” as well as a “blessing” and an “asset.”
I know that in each case, the person who submitted the letter was right. From their own point of view.
So, in all sincerity and taking to heart the varying viewpoints that exist among readers, I submit to you with regard to every column I have written or might write in the future: I apologize and you’re welcome.
There, that should cover everyone.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer, copy editor and advertising representative for the Houston Herald. Email: email@example.com.