by Kristi Belcamino
I've been in journalism off and on since 1990 and during all that time I've never even attempted to be a critic.
Part of getting older—in my opinion—involves realizing what you are good at doing, and what you should avoid.
Reviews and criticism are something I avoid.
As Holly brought up a few weeks back, being a writer and reviewing other writers is a decision each of us has to make. In my opinion, I skip it. I have several reasons for doing so. One of the smaller reasons is that I'm not necessarily good at explaining what I liked and didn't like about a book, a piece of music, or a film.
Sure, I can discuss it on a superficial level, but really it comes down to this: The Cry Factor.
Let me explain:
Did it move me enough to cry or not?
Yep. That simple.
It boils down to whether I was emotionally invested enough in the art to cry of sadness or happiness.
To me, The Cry Factor is a sign of a great book, movie or piece of art.
I was out walking my dog today and listening to U2's Miss Sarajevo (Vertigo: Live from Milan - Matthew Clemens I'm talking to you!) and the ending of the song (which I've heard several dozen times) had me in tears when a woman recites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Yes. That. Something so powerful that it moves me to tears. The Cry Factor.
In my writing, it is something I strive to achieve. If you cried, then I'm happy.
Do you have to be that emotionally moved to consider something great or are the stakes different for you?