I would like to tell you about the day the Scots Makar (A.K.A. the National Poet of Scotland) called me stupid for approx. 10 minutes straight.
Okay, first of all, I’m not writing this to make Liz seem like a bad person AT ALL. I actually think she’s the opposite. Not to mention she is a ridiculously talented writer. I have mad respect for her.
But sometimes shit so weird happens that you can’t not share the story.
Glasgow, Scotland. My class and I were all nearing the end of our Master’s program, which means that lots of the playwrights were having play readings and workshops of their theses. I had one of my own, and I also had the pleasure of attending a couple.
So, my classmate Sylvia had a workshop of her play. Sylvia has been in the arts world in Scotland for over 40 years, so she knows everyone. So naturally, Liz Lochhead was in attendance. NBD. No pressure or anything. (Ha!)
After the reading, we all had a discussion. Now, I don’t remember all of the specifics of the play (I really enjoyed it, though!), or what I suggested, but here’s what went down:
I made a suggestion to Sylvia about how she could approach telling her story, how she could make it just a bit stronger. I’m not cocky, but it was a good suggestion. Everyone in the room agreed with me except Liz, who had somehow understood what I had said, except exactly opposite. And we all know that the opposite of a good suggestion is a bad suggestion. Liz thought that I had made a bad suggestion.
And boy, did she make it known.
She spent the next 10 minutes saying things like, “That’s the most ridiculous suggestion I’ve ever heard,” and, “It would be completely stupid to _________ and ruin what you’ve got,” and, “That makes no sense whatsoever.” She was firm. She was adamant. She did not mince any words.
I was sitting one chair away from the National Poet of Scotland, and I was having an internal debate: do I call her out on her misunderstanding and risk getting into a fight with m’fing Liz Lochhead, or do I shut the hell up and let it happen?
Ask a Scottish man to describe Scottish women and most of them will probably say the same thing: Scottish women are hard women.
So I shut the hell up and let it happen.
And I felt myself physically blush, which doesn’t happen very often to me.
And I made awkward facial expressions at all of my friends in attendance in an attempt to cope.
And that was the day I learned that sometimes I’m willing to let shit happen* if it’ll make a crazy enough story for later.
*As you can see, though, I don’t get over shit very quickly, because I’m still thinking about this, and how I maybe should have told Liz Lochhead that I am, in fact, a very smart person.