It is a problem, this compulsion to be nice. Every time I say anything that isn’t nice - publicly, I mean, not just to friends, God no - my friends know only too well what kind of stuff I’m liable to come out with, God help them - however deeply I feel or think or believe it, the anxiety is terrible, sometimes I can’t even sleep. I worry about meeting the person somewhere and just having no excuse. What if you liked them? A perfectly nice person, say, with a tin ear. It’s not his fault he can’t hear the way his lines sound. A charming fellow, but trivial. And all the sweeter for it, if you suspend your disbelief - like that sweet young woman over there, she’s like a sugar cube. And those four or five poets, who are they, they all seem the same… Nothing to tell their work apart, or them. How can a person be so dull. And all your enemies are friends with your friends, anyway, and you’d never sit at tea with someone and slag off their friend - and if you do it in print you as good as just have. Haven’t you? Like the guy who publishes “versions” of other living writers’ poems, depriving those poets of access to English “translations” of their work or the royalties thereof… (but then what if you were friends with the versioned poet? What if he was better than the English one? What if he was rubbish?)While cynicalsteve (who is now beyond all of it) has a poem:
Come the Revolution
A new day is dawning, the fawning will cease,
You'll soon get a call from the Bardic Police.
They wander around like a Cumbrian cloud;
Their remit is simple: no poems allowed.
The first thing they'll do is, they'll jail all the poets,
The free-versers, free-cursers, go-with-the-flowets,
Sad tree-huggers, mad buggers, plods and emoters,
Those limerick loonies and I'll-get-my-coaters,
De-dum, de-dum merchants, the ones who can't spell,
The nuts who write epics on heaven and hell,
The angries, the Musies, the minimalists,
Declaimers who froth at the mouth and shake fists,
The delicate flowers on a spiritual high,
Unspeakable egotists, pregnant with 'I',
The ones who write verses in praise of their dogs,
Back-of-an-envelope types with crap blogs,
You didn't think that was all, did you? The rest here.