Today I was over-sensitive, under-prepared, naive.
I hadn't yet experienced writing criticism quite so threateningly; I hadn't heard my sentences aloud, in someone else's voice; I hadn't seen the impression that my words gave, the one of cliché and prediction and of not quite making it. And for the few minutes that followed the wrath of critical words and disappointed expression, I didn't know how to react - I didn't know what I was expected to say (do you defend or agree, contest or concede?) or where I was supposed to look.
There was a falter and a deliberation.
Because it wasn't about conceit or arrogance or even pretension. It wasn't about being awarded a higher grade or a worthier compliment, it was simply a case of understanding. Without it, no artist, no academic, no real worker can ever improve.*
So maybe in reading out my sentences, the ones which did not quite flow in a tone of voice which was not quite real, a lesson was forced. Because as much as it stung, scratching at the surface of a pedestalled dream, it showed me just how high and how sought after that very pedestal is.
*Not that I profess to be either one of these.