This week, I published one of the most popular pieces in Moss Island Sounds history. That kind of thing always takes me by surprise – out of the Top Ten, there’s only been one piece I knew, while I was writing it, would crack the list.
I think if I could anticipate the response, I probably wouldn’t publish most of what I write. A friend told me at lunch today, “People have been talking about you, and it hasn’t been nice.” That definitely gets under my skin, but I have to live with it. (I’m an introvert who’d rather be hiking in the woods by myself than have people sit around a table cursing me. No matter what my daughter thinks.)
This blog, and its accompanying podcast, are products of imagination and craft. I offer them publicly because that’s what artists do – we create and we hope an audience finds something worthwhile in our work.
Yesterday, I ran into an old colleague. “We love your blog,” he said, meaning the scientists and staff at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica, NY. Two weeks ago, I wrote about my experience of being fired by the Lab’s Executive Director, who has now been fired himself. When I wrote that piece, I was high on the idea that some kind of karma had finally manifested, although I don’t believe in any of that new age make-your-own religion shit. “You got it right,” my friend said. Music to my soul.
I heard essentially the same thing from others when I wrote a not-entirely-favorable review about a stage production I saw last Friday night. Privately (and some publicly), people said “We agree.” But the loudest voices were from those who were upset. “Who does he think he is?” I had to answer them. Unfortunately, people who don’t like you on the Internet don’t start liking you if you reply on the Internet. (A strange-but-true fact about the Internet.)
The founding statement of Moss Island Sounds contained the words, “[This is] my rant about anything I want to write about.” Those words were written by the person who persuaded me to start a blog in the first place, and they inform the spirit of everything that’s appeared here since. I am a theater craftsman with 25 years of experience in front of and behind the curtain, and I’m a writer. (I’m also a reader, a movie fanatic, a runner, a brewer, an MBA and an above-average Facebook friend.)
Criticism is my favorite kind of writing. Somebody wrote that criticism is taste + experience. I have both of those, so of course I’m going to contribute to the form. Stick with me, fasten your seatbelts, or at least cover the next round. I’m not quitting.