Perspex Armour

When my writing has been criticized, I retreat behind academic armour.

This is partly a ‘positive’ effect.

‘Positive’ not in the sense of being a good thing, but in the sense that it leads to additions. Things like more evidence, or more caveats. Things like more authoritative names. Things like footnotes.

Footnotes convey weightiness. They parry, but they also encase and hide. They shine, deflect, and mirror, and only some of us can afford what they cost. This is what we mean when we say that they are armour that we put on.[1]

They are a positive addition to my body, writing.

But there is the other consequence of criticism – whether real or imagined – the negative. What does criticism take away from my writing?

It takes its sharpest edges, for better or for worse. My writing is less angular, perhaps, but it has less points. Anything can now slip off its smoothed surface. It is clear and transparent, like Perspex.

Don’t misunderstand me: Perspex has its uses.



[1] A case in point, this footnote is simply a distraction.

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