Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Creative Differences

‘Frankly, this is written on the nose.’ She carps. Her disapproving monotone grates at my nerves.

(Me) - ‘I disagree. I think you are overly sensitive to the notion of ‘written on the nose’. I am happy with this scene and I don’t think it needs to be changed.’

She looks a little shocked that I have disagreed with her, she reiterates, with more emphasis this time, ‘It’s written on the nose’.

(Me) - ‘Ok then, tell me, in what way exactly is this written ‘on the nose’?’

She opens and closes her mouth a few times but no words come out, she flounders like a fish drowning in air. The self appointed ‘leader’ of the writing group (who assumed this role over night, unbeknown to anyone else) is unable to articulate her opposition to my work.

Not wanting to loose face, she grasps another statement out of thin air - ‘It’s over the top.’

(Me) - ‘Are you sure that ‘over the top’ is the right term? I’d say what you interpret as ‘over the top’ is actually the character speaking passionatley. She has to be passionate. She’s about to wage her own personal attack on the antagonist.

The self appointed ‘leader’ of the group attempts to rally the other two members onto her ‘side’. She wants them to agree with her and to show me that it’s not just her who is so critical of my work, and is therefore 'right'. Her submissive husband (other member number one) mumbles something unintelligible. The other member number two sits on the fence.

I feel a little bit bullied.

‘This is not what I signed up for,’ I think to myself.

She carries on talking at me. I can see her mouth moving and I am looking at her but I am not really listening anymore and my eyes are glazed over. The self appointed leader is lulled into a false sense of security by my quiet. She thinks I have submitted.

In my silence I weigh up the pros and cons of remaining in this partnership.

For one of the first times in my life, I am actually happy and confident about the quality of my own work yet here I am taking an unhealthy amount of criticism, far from constructive criticism at that, from someone who seems incapable of articulating anything other than negative, empty statements .

A penny drops. My mind is made up. I collect the scenes I have submitted from the table and I walk out of the room.

I do not look back.

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