When I was eight, I wrote my first poem.
My mother read the little poem and poured out her praise. “Why, this poem was nothing short of genius!”
This evening when my father came in, my mother began to tell him, "Ben, Buddy has written his first poem! And it's beautiful, absolutely amazing--"
"If you don't mind, I'd like to decide for myself," Father said.
I kept my face lowered to my plate as he read that poem. It was only ten lines. But it seemed to take hours.
"I think it's lousy," he said.
I couldn’t look up. My eyes were getting wet.
"Ben, sometimes I don't understand you," my mother was saying. "This is just a little boy. These are the first lines of poetry he's ever written. He needs encouragement."
"I don't know why." My father held his ground. "Isn’t there enough lousy poetry in the world already? No law says Buddy has to become a poet."
A few years later I took a second look at the first poem; it was a pretty lousy poem. After a while, I worked up the courage to show him something new, a short story. My father thought it was overwritten but not hopeless. I was learning to rewrite. And my mother was learning that she could criticize me without crushing me. You might say we were all learning.
But it wasn't until years later that the true meaning of that painful "first poem" experience dawned on me. As I became a professional writer, it became clearer and clearer to me how fortunate I’ve been. I had a mother who said, "Buddy, did you really write this? I think it's wonderful!" and a father who shook his head no and drove me to tears with "I think it's lousy." A writer--in fact every one of us in life--needs that loving force from which all creation flows. Yet along that force is incomplete, even misleading; balance of the force cautions, "Watch. Listen. Review. Improve."
Sometimes you find these opposing forces in associate friends, loved ones. But finally you must balance these opposites within yourself.
Those conflicting but complementary voice of my childhood echo down through the years--wonderful...lousy...wonderful...lousy--like two opposing winds battering me. I try to navigate my craft so as not capsize before either.
2012-06-25 21:04 编辑：tinna_mm