Sometimes I want to abandon one of my critique groups. One of the poets is mean.
I’ve been bailing a lot on that group lately for a variety of reasons– it’s really not been the best of times so far in 2015, esp. as productivity goes. And then there have been multiple extenuating circumstances: a family member in a cascade of financial/mental health/existential crises, a ten-week stint of crazy overtime at my job, letting myself get talked in to *way* to much volunteering (‘cos I’m a sucker), and various concerns and unpleasantries with my health. But if I’m being totally honest, part of why I’m absent is that I don’t want to deal with Mean Poet. Given that the past few months have been BLERG!, the last thing I want to do is get up early on a Saturday so I can listen to MP’s remarks. Why do that when I can just sulk at home in sweatpants, reading comics? Much better way to handle it, right?
I fantasize about being mean in return (not that such actions do any good).
So far I’m using a mixed strategy:
- not showing up
- when I do show up, ignoring her as much as I can
- when I can’t actually ignore her with plausible deniability, I try to be nice, solicit and defer to her opinion, and generally blow smoke up her ass.
This combination strategy is terrible, by the way. I don’t recommend it.
On an only-tangentally related note, I also feel like poets get short-changed in critique groups full of fiction writers. I don’t feel there is much I can offer a poet (try as I might). I don’t think that’s why she’s mean, though. And for what’s it worth, I don’t think MP would see herself as being mean. My guess is that she sees herself as endlessly persecuted by me ‘cos I am a know-it-all weirdo/ attention whore who talks to much. And, fair enough, I am those things. But is that any reason to be so disagreeable?