Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Next ###### Star

I've been watching the 'catch-up' episodes of Next Food Network Star. I don't watch reality TV as a rule. But I have to admit the Food Network and HGTV star searches pull me in. Partly because I like watching to pick up tips -- and to knock the things I know they do wrong.

Each week I marvel at how they stand up there and take the criticism in public. Obviously they are accountable for anything they do -- they have to take ownership of the dish or the design (oh, Lord, I'm starting to sound lke the shows!) -- but still, to stand there beside the fellow contestants, on camera, and hear it spelled out about what was done wrong! Ooh! (shiver)

Now, it's funny. I can take -- no, let me rephrase that, I have taken editorial or professorial critique on my writing. I've changed things, or I've defended my work. But, it isn't the same. Never mind that these critiques represent the thinking of judges who, at that point, hold your next professional life in their hands. Never mind that your mother, your co-workers, your kids and your kids' friends will watch this, ready to turn to you and ask what you were thinking. As much as I love to cook, and as much as I love to create, build, and decorate, I could not take this. Kudos to those who have enough faith to follow their dreams into such a public arena. And kudos to the networks for giving these folks a chance.

Now, what about you? Do you have to take public criticism? Have you developed skin of armor? Do you let yourself look on it as a merely educational experience? Or do you secretly go home and sob into your pillow and hug (or kick) your cat?

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