Here's my beef with poets, and maybe this is specific to Bay Area poets and maybe just to the ones I spend time with, but I'm going to make a grand general statement about poets and you, dear reader, are more than welcome to disagree with me. In fact, please do. We poets (gross generalization) are afraid to express our personal radness for fear of being criticized for being: arrogant, self-promoting, fussy, having diva-like qualities or worst: collaborating with the enemy--Capitalism.
...okay I just realized that I'm talking about myself. I am projecting onto my friends and then extending that projection to others in my social sphere and then beyond to poets in general. Wow, it's really hard to build an argument when you realize that it's based on your own insecurities and neuroses. Shoot.
Still, guys, I want to reassure you (if any of you are struggling with this too) and in doing so myself that there are ways to express engagement, excitement and positive feelings about your work, your community, etc. and still practice the values you hold dear (consideration, kindness, professionalism and a well-balanced ego state, for my part). That last one kind of cracked me up. Well-balanced ego state...that's a good one, but HECK, isn't that something to strive for?
Also, beyond being positive and and excited about our work and the work of our colleagues and friends I would extend this hope of possibility. I'm going to say that it is OK to defend your work. It is OK to be assertive and it is possible to do so without being aggressive. It is possible to practice the values you hold dear and still stand up for yourself and your work. In fact, it should be expected and should be supported.
I have much more to say on this topic and welcome discussion. Please, think about this, friends. I know that I may be projecting here but I also know that I am no alone in this.
Bust out! Get shiny!