Dear Sugar: How Do I Survive The Critics?

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Dear Sugar Radio is taking off Labor Day 2015 weekend. We'll be back next week with new episodes. In the meantime, we're reposting this episode from March 2015, "How Do I Survive The Critics?" with special guest George Saunders. Going into the new school year, we revisit the topic — how do we handle judgment about our work, even the harshest criticism?

Originally posted March 13, 2015:

It always hurts to be criticized. And yet, part of what comes with being an artist is creating work that is then released into the world and subject to the world’s reaction – good or bad.

In this episode, the Sugars take on the pain that comes with being judged for one’s work, and the ways in which we can learn from even the most brutal of judgments. They’re joined by the writer George Saunders, who helps field a question from a newly published author feeling crushed by first reviews. Saunders recalls his own first experience of being publicly condemned, which sent him down to his basement for three days.

Show notes

[0:16] “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl,” Nina Simone, 1967.

[2:57] Torch, Cheryl Strayed, 2006.

[3:12] Wild, Cheryl Strayed, 2012.

[4:28] George Saunders, author website.

[5:58] "When I sold my first book," George Saunders, "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," 1996.

[6:01] "Bounty," George Saunders, printed in April 1995 issue of Harper's.

[8:34] "I did a trip one time for GQ, and I went with Clinton over to Africa," George Saunders, "Men of the Year: Public Citizen," interview printed in December 2007 issue of GQ.

[14:10] Karen Karbo, author website.

[14:50] "Letters From People Who Hate Me," Steve Almond, 2010.

[21:01] "I think the great ones are the ones who, you know, like Dickens, they just crank 'em out," Charles Dickens, bibliography.

[25:45] "Thinskinned," Dolorean, "The Unfazed," 2011.

New episodes of Dear Sugar Radio are released weekly.

Headshot of Lisa Tobin

Lisa Tobin Senior Podcast Producer
Lisa Tobin was formerly WBUR's senior podcast producer.



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