Christopher Stone is best-selling author of books in the areas of Personal Development and Meditation. Additionally, thousands of his entertainment cover stories, featured articles, interviews, columns and reviews have appeared worldwide, in top national consumer and trade publications, in print and online.
Christopher's latest project is his first novel, Frame of Reference, to be released by MLR Press, Fall 2012.
Sir Noel Peirce Coward (1899-1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, noted for his wit, flamboyance and an extraordinary sense of personal style – once described by Time magazine as “a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise.” The biographer, Philip Hoare, taking a lyric from Sir Noel’s 1929 song, “If Love Were All,” titled his 1996 Coward biography, A Talent to Amuse.
God, and the world at large, knows I’m no Noel Coward – not on any level – not even close. But I hope I have a talent to amuse. At other times, I pray for the ability to enlighten, or to successfully instruct.
With my first book, Re-Creating Your Self, my goal was enlightenment. I attempted to let readers know how the ideas they accept as being true about themselves; others and the world in general, coalesce to create their personal reality. Similarly, I discussed how, en masse, the ideas we accept as being true about ourselves, others and the world at large, merge to create world events.
In my trilogy of hardcover Meditation Journal books, co-authored with the great Mary Sheldon, my goal was instructional. I explained an easy method of basic meditation (focused attention) for readers. It’s an easily achievable discipline, valuable because it yields deep relaxation, as well as important personal insights.
In my recent MLR Press novel, Frame of Reference, my first novel, my primary goal was to demonstrate “a talent to amuse aficionados of MM fiction.”
If you are among the book’s readers, I would ask you, did an amusing alliteration, or a clever turn of phrase, delight you? In referencing one of my characters’ favorite old movies, or television series, did I make you feel warm and fuzzy, or rouse a comforting memory from your own past? Perhaps, like one reader, the steamy sex scenes caused you to stick your hand, your head, or some other body part, into your freezer, in an attempt to cool down. If so, then I succeeded in my goal.
For many of this country’s top print publications, I have interviewed many celebrated authors, though I came along too late to query Sir Noel. Many times, during the interview process, when asking an author, “For whom do you write?” their response has been, “I write for myself.”
I, too, write for myself – at least, I do in part. I find great personal fulfillment in stringing words together. I must. I’ve been doing it since third grade. Back then, I wrote a one-act play, produced by my class at the end of the school year.
But personal fulfillment is simply one-half of my writing equation. You, the reader, are the other half. In truth, if I could only please one of us, I would choose you.
Perhaps that’s because, in my personal life, too, I have a strong impetus to please. There are people that will tell you I have failed in that regard, perhaps they might add, spectacularly so.
Professionally, I’m also eminently aware that I don’t always succeed in my goals. Readers and reviewers have made this abundantly clear. But I find this really interesting: Frequently, the very same aspect or quality of my work that has turned off one reader or reviewer, causing them to put aside my article or book, unfinished, is the very same aspect or quality of writing that some other reader or reviewer claims has compelled them to read straight through the article or book one in one sitting, even when it means burning the midnight electricity.
Go figure. I can’t. No matter who you are – no matter what you do, you can’t please everybody – and that includes Sir Noel, the Great and Powerful. As the old television game show, Concentration, may have put it, One man’s pleasure is another man’s poison.
So where does such contradiction leave me? Personally such inconsistency has taught me to always do my best, even as I know I can never, will never, satisfy everyone.
Professionally, the same incongruity keeps me from judging the value of my work, based primarily upon my ability to please every reader and reviewer, every time.
If you were amused by Frame of Reference, then, for you, I succeeded. If you were not amused, then I apologize for failing you; believe me, I lament not living up to your expectations.
Either way, I will try, try again. It’s what I do.