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Fiction, The Writer's Life

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things, or How to Keep Your Spouse From Criticizing Your Blog

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things…

After last week’s posting, my wife hit me with, “You’re getting too cynical.” What?! I had actually been pleased that I’d been receiving more hits than ever on the site, and that more and more people seemed to be commenting.

But maybe she had a point. I looked over my recent blogs and found that I had dissed MFAs, the economy, and bad character names. In the past I’ve gone after the lack of writing in society, the lack of reading in society, scam writing contests, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, traditional publishing, and more.

Honestly, I don’t disdain everything. I do like some stuff. So in the interest of reaffirming my humanity and preserving marital bliss, here are a few of the things I like:

  • Henry, our coffee-drinkin’ dog
  • My job and my pals at The Los Angeles Review
  • My weekly egg
  • Jose Saramago novels

I admit I’m not a sentimental person. When my wife watches a Bridget Jones movie for the thirtieth time, I run—not walk—to our other TV for an ESPN fix. I cringe at short stories in journals or submissions about parents with cancer, parents with Alzheimer’s, memories of childhood, children with cancer or any other fatal disease. Does that make me a meany? After all, I like:

  • A quiet, rainy day, where all I have to do is write
  • Writers’ conferences
  • A good Barolo
  • The Cincinnati Review

Am I really that cynical, that much of a curmudgeon, a misanthrope? Or is it that I see through the bullshit and inane corporate pabulum the world dishes up each day, and feel compelled to call it out? A few more things among the many things I like:

  • Children and babies (as long as they go home with other people)
  • Anything by Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff or Anton Chekhov
  • Victoria, BC
  • Donning headphones at work and cranking the volume so I can stay awake

By the way, cynical means never having to say you’re sorry. Some final likes:

  • My wife, Dona
  • My blog readers, especially those who take the time to comment
  • My blog, just the way it is

See you next Saturday.


…Aphids on roses and dogs chasing kittens
Battered old kettles and holes in my mittens
Muting the sound when Julie Andrews sings
These are a few of my favorite things…


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


16 thoughts on “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things, or How to Keep Your Spouse From Criticizing Your Blog

  1. Hello! Just a quick word to tell you I really liked this post! I often wonder if I criticize things too often, and how my better half will react to my blogging about him… I guess I’ll find out!

    I don’t think you’re too cynical. Pointing out flaws in society/the way things are is good, as long as it’s constructive!
    (PS: forgive me for any mistake, English isn’t my first language.)

    Posted by gathoublibli | May 19, 2012, 1:01 PM
    • Many thanks. You’re right about making criticism constructive–otherwise it’s just complaining. Kind of like what the Tea Party does.

      Posted by jpon | May 19, 2012, 1:50 PM
  2. Don’t listen to your wife. Listen to YOU. Your voice is key, and I can already tell — as a new follower — that it’s a voice I want to hear regularly.


    Posted by ThreeKingsBooks | May 19, 2012, 1:43 PM
  3. Never apologize. When this happens to me, I look into the mirror and repeat, “It’s just part of my charm, it’s part of my charm” until I feel better and carry on. I find your barbed remarks very inspiring. I have to come here and comment again, I can’t help myself. (BTW Jose Saramago=*swoon*)

    Posted by girl in the hat | May 19, 2012, 2:33 PM
  4. If I had a blog, it would feature “How to keep your spouse from criticizing your poetry and short stories,” but, on the other hand, I am grateful for people who critique, and criticize, my work. Conflict in life and work is the key to great art.

    Posted by Nadia Ibrashi | May 19, 2012, 6:41 PM
    • So, criticism from your spouse about your prose and poetry… an interesting dynamic. Most of the writers I know have spouses who don’t read their work, and if they do it’s only to praise. I hope your husband’s comments are helpful.

      Posted by jpon | May 20, 2012, 12:05 PM
      • He critiques the few he reads, usually extra copies I have inadvertendly left in the copier. Once in a while, he’ll genuinely like my stuff. His critiques are extremely helpful in a reverse psychology sort of a way :)

        Posted by nadiaibrashi | May 22, 2012, 12:01 AM
  5. I’m with you on the Saramago novels. Too bad there won’t be any more.

    Posted by Paul Lamb | May 20, 2012, 3:56 PM
  6. such a funny, wry post. Good that our spouses keep us honest. ps – does your dog really drink coffee? remarkable.

    Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | May 20, 2012, 4:13 PM
    • Well, yes. In fact, he eats/drinks just about everything we do, plus he’s keen on cardboard, napkins, tissues–anything that’s even remotely chewable. As for coffee, we try to limit him to decaf, because he’s hyper enough already.

      Posted by jpon | May 20, 2012, 7:52 PM
  7. You? A grouch and cynic? It ain’t so Joe!

    I only edited a lit mag for one year, but I’m telling you, if I saw ONE MORE story about cancer or the day-to-day progress of a dying parent, I thought I’d set the effing building on fire.

    Sometimes my husband reads my blog and says, “Hey, that was a good post today,” which means to me that all the posts he didn’t mention were bad. This is how my mind works — and I’m a positive person, really I am. I am!

    Your poem at the end: priceless. And who doesn’t love a coffee-drinking dog — I mean, come on. :-)

    Posted by Teri | May 20, 2012, 6:44 PM
    • My wife usually tells me she likes my blog, and she has promised to comment on this one–I can’t wait to see her comeback. She also has just started a blog of her own, for her work (she’s a VP at United Way), and is really getting into it. Dueling bloggers at our house.

      Posted by jpon | May 20, 2012, 7:55 PM

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