Dear Haiku Maven, I have been told I am a glass-is-half-empty kind of person. I call it “being honest”. Recently a fellow-haiku poet offered a poem in a workshop setting. I did not hold back my comments. I told him that his haiku was not even ready for workshop, let alone worthy of publication. He got very upset and stormed out of the workshop. I think if he can’t stand the heat he should get out of the kitchen. But now the rest of my haiku group is shunning me. I hate to apologize, especially when I didn’t do anything wrong. What do you think?
An Honest Man
Dear Honest Man, It is no wonder no one is talking to you in your haiku group. Constructive criticism in haiku workshops should be offered with a teaspoon of kindness (or a glass of white wine) to make the medicine go down. Please try to be a more considerate member of your group. Try prefacing your comments with “I think” instead of “You”. If I had done that when speaking with my spouse, we would still be married. And remember, what sounds like a comment to you, may sound like a show of contempt to someone else. Be kind. Be respectful. And if you think you were out of line with your workshop comments, be honest enough to say so. I have a feeling your group will welcome you back, although at first perhaps with closed rather than open arms.
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