Writing for the Lint Pickers
I am going to tell you about my friend Liza.
Okay, her name isn't really Liza. But if I told you her name, then I wouldn't get to write about her. And I want to write about her, because Liza used to do something deadly to her creative self, and maybe you are still doing what Liza used to do.
She would make these beautiful poems. Truly beautiful.
Then Liza would go to another poet friend who would read her poems quietly and seriously, as if she really cared about these beautiful poems.
It would start small.
You should take out the last three lines.
Liza would feel a little sad. She especially liked the last three lines.
The language here is too wide open.
Liza liked wide open language.
I just don't get the point of this poem.
Liza liked a little mystery.
By the time their "sharing session" was done, Liza felt like the dumbest poet on earth— which, if we listen to Julia Cameron this week, we will understand was exactly what Liza's friend was hoping. Maybe not consciously; she spent the time reading the poems, she took the time to share her critiques.
But, in the end, Liza's friend was like the playwright's friends that Cameron discusses...
The feedback from the playwright's jealous peers? Mainly lint picking. How is the playwright to understand the size of what's been done when the comments all address the creative lint?
I'm not saying that it's bad to have friends who can tell us where we need to cut three lines (or maybe even ten), but if that's the only kind of feedback they ever give, we need to do what Liza finally did. Find a new place to share.
Making the Boat, photo by L.L. Barkat.