Archive for March, 2016

When I first was accepted into the Temple Square Chorale and the Choir School of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir nine years ago, very early on during my training, one of our instructors played the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s latest (at the time) CD during class.  To my untrained ear, the Choir sounded beautiful, glorious.  However, the instructor proceeded to pick apart the song, pointing out all the places where the Choir was less than it should have been.  I was astonished, to be perfectly honest.  What?  You mean the greatest choir in the world, “America’s Choir,” “the Lord’s Choir” was less than perfect?

Nine years later, I can answer that question with resounding YES.  We are always striving to improve.  And our greatest critic is Mack Wilberg.  Why?  Because he loves us and wants us to be better.

I have never been a fan of American Idol.  However, my family used to watch it faithfully (years ago).  They would watch the auditions while I worked or wrote on my laptop.  Most of those auditions were bad.  Actually, most of them were spectacularly bad.  And after a terrible audition, the rejected contestant would sometimes stomp out the door in tears, swearing a bleeped blue streak, only to be greeted by family members (often a mother) who would say, “Those judges don’t know what they’re talking about.  You’re great!  You’re a star!  Someday, you’ll show ’em.  They’ll be sorry.”

And when I saw that, I would say, “Wow.  That mom really doesn’t love her kid.”  Because, as I said, the audition was awful.  Perhaps the singer could improve with training, perhaps not, but telling them they did well when they didn’t doesn’t help them improve.  No-one ever progressed by listening to sycophants.  Some of these rejected singers had talent, but if they did, they also desperately needed someone who loved them to tell them they needed to improve.  Simon Cowell didn’t love them, but then again, that wasn’t his job.  His job was to find someone who was ready to be exploited… er, HELPED along the way to stardom.

I have my fans.  My fans are great.  My fans are cool.  I am very grateful for my fans.  However, I also need critics.  I’m not perfect.  I’m not the greatest horror writer to have ever walked the face of the planet.  I’m not Steven King.  Actually, even Steven King isn’t “Steven King.”  He’s not as good as he thinks he is.  To tell the truth, in my not so humble opinion, Steven King peaked decades ago and has been in steady, sometimes precipitous decline ever since.

I belong to the LDS Beta Readers facebook group.  I am very blessed to be a member of this group.  We swap manuscripts and chapters and provide constructive and very frank criticism to one another.  Every member has their strengths and weaknesses.  We each need to build on our strengths and improve on areas where we fall short.  Without this criticism, we can never grow.

Jesus loves me.  (This I know, ’cause the Bible…)  Jesus wants me to succeed.  Jesus gives me loving encouragement.  He also calls me to repentance.

So do my true friends.

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