Something that comes up time and time again in reference to what artists produce is the criteria against which our work should be evaluated. Meaning, if the work doesn’t meet a certain criteria (or what someone thinks is a certain criteria) then clearly it can’t be any good. You only act in community productions, obviously you can’t make it as a professional actor. That art is lines and squiggles, it’s no good. You are only ever produced in schools, you can’t be a good playwright.
It happens to me quite often because there are enough people who think the criteria to be truth and worthy of meeting. And if I don’t meet the criteria of what a playwright is supposed to produce, I must not be any good. And since my work isn’t any good, it’s perfectly acceptable to condescend, or disrespect or treat me as a fool.
Generally, I am secure in what I think of my work and my place in the playwriting pantheon. I’m never going to be a different writer nor would I choose to be. I know exactly how my work hits those it is intended for. And if I may toot my own horn, it hits it out of the ballpark. So when someone comes along and treats me like a fool, most times I can laugh it off. Most times. Maybe because writing (or any art) is a personal craft for me I take these reactions very personally. More than I should. My work is me. There’s no reason when someone acts inappropriately that I shouldn’t just let it roll off my back. That I shouldn’t let it derail me. I shouldn’t feel my heart race and my stomach do the cha cha. And yet, I do. Is it because of that personal link I can’t sever? That I want everyone to like me? Like my work? What difference does it make if someone likes or dislikes me? And yet it does. Wrongly or rightly. It’s personal, no matter how hard I try to make a division. But all I can muster is a line in the sand.
The only way to get past this is to keep on writing. It’s the only way. Do what I do. I write, I win. I stand up for my work, I win. And yet I can’t lie, it doesn’t feel like winning because I know for this person I’ll never meet their criteria. But, I also know for others what I do is more than enough. It’s out of the ballpark. And that’s what I have to keep remembering, isn’t it.