Somebody (I don't recollect who) posted on their blog an observation that if you know a young person who wants to be a writer, shoot them now while they are still happy.
I remember when my son, a playwright, had his first play showcased in college.
This is the son who taught me to LOVE criticism of my works.
"Mom, you cannot be a writer unless you lay your ego aside and allow critics to rip your works apart! That's how you learn to craft something that others want to read. You are not writing for yourself. You are writing for others. I have taken one whole semester on submitting plays and having a group of experts and other students dissect my writings as pathetically flawed while I had to sit and listen. It began as humiliation and ended with exhiliration that anybody considered me good enough to criticize."
So we, his family, sat in the crowded theater
whilst he, the playwright, sat in a special box in the balcony.
He was dressed to the nines, voguish, all plucked from the local thrift store,
hanging on his confident frame
like icicles gracing a mansion.
We were all so excited.
The play began by explaining, before the curtain opened, that this play was "adult in content" and R-rated.
My heart did not have time to skip a beat before half..... HALF..... the audience got up and walked out!
I was devastated for my son!
But he was happy. Later he explained, "You want those people to leave. That's why you announce the R-rating. You don't want people ruining your play by getting up during it and leaving."
And he taught me how important it is to target the right audience. How everything is not for everybody and that is "ok".
But I was cringing on my seat, not only for him, but for ME. R-Rated? Oh, dear.
But before those feelings could overtake me, we heard the people behind us discussing the walk-out.
"Are YOU leaving?"
"Oh, no! I heard this play was written by a drunk sophomore and I have got to see it!"
These are the things that make your face look like ten miles of bad highway by the time the kids are grown and gone.
The play began. We sat there mesmerized by a play so poignant, so tender, so great we could scarce believe we were related to the "drunk sophomore" who wrote it.
Those who walked out to protect themselves missed something so human and tender they would have been touched.
The play won awards and was showcased elsewhere, bringing a touch of success to my son.
I felt no part of the success since we in the family all recognized that the main character was actually my son, the playwright and the antagonist, the pathetically flawed failure, was his dad.
Thank goodness his dad wasn't there!
Still and all, I felt a little smug, no compassion whatsoever, actually, for my ex.
I might have felt sorry for my ex had I any idea at that moment of what was coming downstream, in a couple of years, on stage, for me!!!!!
Don't even ask!
So, it is no surprise, me being interested in criticism and all, that yesterday at a belated Mother's Day Lunch, I asked my daughter to critique my blog honestly. Her age precludes her from my target audience but I know she reads "I've Landed!".
The desert sun shone muted through the blue tinted restaurant window, casting soft relief to the 30 year old wall paper and unchanging decors we have enjoyed in our favorite restaurant for decades. The flowering trees outside were made deeper in shade by the tinted glass. The smell of pizza was everywhere.
"Well", she said as she gazed out the window, "I think you could improve your blog by leaving out the statistics. They are boring. And leave out the education also. If people want education there are multiple sites they can go to."
"But my blog is meant to be educational!"
"Well, skip it. Nobody wants educated. Tell the stories. Do the expose'. That's what's entertaining.............reading other people's stories."
"Do I put too much religious stuff in?"
(pause......) "No. Not really. That's ok. But you are a little edgy with the UFO stuff. You might want to leave that out because, frankly, you seem like a nut sometimes."
"I am a nut! I am not ashamed of being related to lunatics! Besides you are only saying that because I am a tea party enthusiast."
"They are nuts!"
"So? .....What's your point?"
"Stay away from the UFO's and the Tea Party."