At work the other day I was walking toward the door and tossed my empty can in the bin from about 8 feet away. Not a big deal, I do that every day. But something occurred to me; I take that for granted when I shouldn’t.
Why? Because I wear contacts now but wore glasses for the longest time. I didn’t think of the glasses as a problem, just a necessity but when I could afford contacts I got them. A small thing but as a kid I sucked at basketball because it required depth perception (I just assumed I wasn’t very good at it but after I got contacts I realized that, while still not actually good at it I could actually hit the rim) and the most noticeable of all was playing pool.
I am not now, nor have I ever been, a great pool player but when I first started playing I’d get frustrated because the shot I had lined up would somehow miss when it shouldn’t have. As far as I could see the shots were right and I couldn’t figure out where I’d gone wrong.
Then I got contacts and those shots started going in. Well, a bit. I’d still miss more than my fair share but the frustration was gone and I could see what was going right and what was going wrong.
Why do I tell you this? Because it lead to another thought; We can’t know how others see the world. How our words sound in their ears, how your music reverberates in their soul, how we’re perceived by others. Mostly that’s a good thing (does anyone really want to know what others truly think of them?) but when presenting your work to the world it presents a difficulty.

All artists are wearing glasses about their own work. They can see some things and miss other things because their closeness skews their perception and on that level a critic can be quite helpful. If they see a lack in your work that you missed and point that out to you it can lead to better work.

But too many times I see critics who are the ones wearing the glasses, who assume because they can’t see the worth in a piece that there is no worth in it. That a joke they don’t laugh at is not just not funny to them but EMPIRICALLY unfunny. As if their lack of a reaction is proof of failure.

Humor is that most personal of tastes. I write to make myself laugh and my only concern is to make the setup explicable to the reader. I can only hope that they laugh with me, that they share a similar sense of humor. That if my perception is skewed they too have that skewed perspective.

That they understand what it’s like to miss that popcan throw regularly for years and then hit it every time.

It makes me smile. Even though it’s such a small thing.