This is a manifesto/confession I wrote in my first year of college whilst studying English literature. My natural response when it comes to reading old diaries is to cringe, but I pretty much feel the same now, as I did then. I was reading The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing last night, where she writes,
Why is their interpretation of the word critic always to find fault?…That valuable person who understands what you are doing, what you are aiming for, and can give you advice and real criticism, is nearly always someone right outside the literary machine, even outside the university system; it may be a student just beginning, and still in love with literature, or perhaps it may be a thoughtful person who reads a great deal, following his own instinct.
For anyone who’s ever felt they’re not clever enough, whether they’re part of the system or not, everytime they’ve interacted with a piece or art, be it literature or music, remember the point of education is to be able to think for yourself and to present your thoughts taking everything into account as much as possible. It’s not sufficient to say, if you are arguing about it, “I don’t like this character/song/….” Why? Bring other people’s opinions in only if they help present YOUR argument better, and not because they have a string of degrees and awards attached to their name.