Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Incredible, Edible Ego

I don’t like being criticized, even if it is correct. I will put a frozen smile on my face, nod and take notes, then go home and hop up and down, screaming curses at my critic and myself...then pick up the notes, put them in order and attempt to apply them to my life...if I can.

And I always ask myself the key question: “What if I am wrong?”

I wonder if my critic ever asks his or her self that question?

You see politicians try to carefully explain away their errors and if they fail, try to divert your attention to the fat cat elementary school teachers or our Mau Mau Islamic leader. For many voters this works because they want to be able to explain away their own shortcomings. It’s a visceral circle.

All I know is that  I cannot live without feedback. Negative or positive, bring it on. I have a friend who finds an “incorrect” word in every Facebook posting. She is generally not right but it makes her feel better about life, so I always thank her for her suggestion. And refrain from posting my suggestion to her. I want her to do this because it keeps me sharper. It makes me make sure I’ve used le mot juste.

I think Harry Truman said it best: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” if you can’t review yourself and be open to criticism, you shouldn’t be saying anything or singing anything or painting anything. It’s a tough world with few openings to success. I suspect deep down, that I may only be a 99 percent good playwright when the market demands that you be 105 percent or somebody’s nephew. (HI! AARON!) And of course, the best critic is yourself. You have GOT to be able to hear that line go THUD! You have got to look at your life and say, “Well, that’s not working.” And isn’t it nicer to catch it yourself, before your friend says , “Are you SURE you want to wear the blue belt?”

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