As I said in an earlier post, I’m a lot like Nathaniel Martin in Patrick O’Brian’s The Far Side of the World.
like most normally constituted writers Martin had no use for any candid opinion that was not wholly favourable.
And now that I’ve received the response from a reviewer and the editor of New Directions in Folklore to the article (“‘Quacks, Yokels, and Light-Fingered Folk:’ Oral Performance Art at the Fair”) that I submitted over a year ago, I’m feeling even more normally constituted than ever!
The response was favorable, and they want to publish the article, but it wasn’t wholly favorable, and they want some improvements first. I can see their point and (partially) agree, but I also think there’s some ways in which they’re quite simply misunderstanding my point, and my approach. I’m not a folklorist, that’s part of the problem, and that’s why I was happy to submit to New Directions in Folklore. But they’re pushing me a bit towards a traditional folklore approach (preservationist, exoticizing, romanticizing, and outside-in) and that’s just plain not the approach I want to take.
So, how much of my resistance is “normally constituted” affection for my own words, and how much is legitimate and appropriate insistence that my approach is unique and valuable? Or is there a difference? I want them to publish the piece, so I’ll do my best to follow the suggestions. But at the same time I’m not going to abandon what (to me) makes the article work so well.
I’ll take the time to work on a second draft. I’ll try to make my approach and the reasons why I think it’s worthwhile more clear. But the editor’s already made clear that I’m going to be working uphill on that, to some extent. I’ll do what I can do. And I’ll get what I get.