When someone signs up for a workshop they often say something like Alison, I need you to be hard on me. Don’t sugarcoat anything. I just tilt my head and smile.
When I was young I sat through lots of tense workshops in which a few lukewarm-nice things were said and then the “real” critique started, about everything wrong with the piece. Too many times I watched students turn bright red, fight back tears.
“I do best when a teacher is tough on me.” Do you, though? What about when someone focuses on what’s beautiful, what is yours and yours alone? Watch a wild, silent power emerge. The teacher in this poem speaks to the artist in me.
A Young Man, a Stranger, Smiled at Me, by Jim Moore
Maybe I reminded him of his grandfather
or his favorite teacher in grade school,
the one who lied to him
about his painting of the goldfish bowl,
who looked hard at it and said, Beautiful.
For more information about Jim Moore, please visit his website.