For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about Charlie Brown.
Remember Charlie Brown playing football? Remember how his best friend’s sister Lucy held the ball for him to kick? And just as he was about to kick, she moved the ball, and he fell flat on his back? Remember how this happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME?
That image came to my mind this morning, as I was about to open one more rendition of Marki Talley, Writer/Editor, in the form of a new website, and ask for feedback.
And I woke up doubting the wisdom of doing that.
No, I’m not afraid of typo reports; I do that for a living. And I’m not avoiding honest disagreement.
I’m talking about the invincible Lucy van Pelt.
Charlie Brown should know by now: you can’t please Lucy. She doesn’t want to be pleased. If she can’t find something to pick on, she’ll make something up. You humble yourself, you beg and plead your lowly case that she please, please, please leave you alone. You confess it’s all your fault (whether it is or not). Just as you think you can’t get any lower, she calls you a crybaby, so you stand up tall and boast your achievements. She’ll stomp those down, too, just in case you might risk thinking too highly of yourself.
Whether she’s an inner or outer critic, I must admit, I don’t know why anyone would enjoy doing that.
The fact is, most of the world really doesn’t care very much about my lowly website or me. The only people who care are the people I’m speaking directly to: me, current and potential readers, and sometimes my closest friends. Lucy really doesn’t care or need to care.
So why do I keep handing the ball to Lucy?
Because I believe constructive criticism is healthy, and we all should seek good and varied input on our work or we won’t learn. Oh yes, I truly believe that.
But what I forgot is that it’s just as important to choose one’s critics well.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Where does Lucy van Pelt show up in your life? What do you do when she does?