A Dialogue with my Inner Critic

Pablo Picasso

There’s nothing like a deadline to jolt my muse awake, and today I have two of them. Tonight is the fifth anniversary of Poets Speak Loud, an open mic at Tess’ Lark Tavern. After the reading, they’ll walk to nearby Washington Park to toss a beret onto the head of the Robert Burns statue in honor of the late social activist and poet Tom Nattell. I wanted to write something new for the occasion rather than recycle one of my old poems. I also need something new to submit to Oriel, the annual literary magazine for my Unitarian Universalist congregation.

I haven’t written a new poem in months, not since I became obsessed with blogging. What to do? I decided to write a dialogue with the nasty Inner Critic who continues to plague me daily. Here it is:

Golden Years (a dialogue with my inner critic)

Monday morning, and my calendar’s nearly blank.  

I’m truly blessed, free to follow my bliss wherever it leads.

            Your bliss won’t take you far, not till Social Security

            replenishes your account tomorrow.

Hey, I’m not talking big-time travel here, I’m talking feeling states.

I’ve paid my dues and earned these Golden Years.

            Golden? That’s rich – you have to scrimp and save.

            No raise this year – the benefits are frozen.

Speaking of frozen, today looks good for skiing. Maybe I’ll play hooky,

drive to Jiminy Peak. The view of the Berkshires from the top is gorgeous.

            Yeah, right, it’s skiing down that stinks. You want to break a leg?

            Besides, the wind chill’s minus ten below.

I guess you’re right – I’ll hit the Y instead, go to my Nia class,

then do the weight machines.

            Why bother? You’ve been doing that draggy routine for years –

             you’re still as fat as ever. You’ll never be as skinny as those other women.

But there’s still hope – I’m in the weight loss program, Lose to Win.

I’m journaling my diet, e-mailing the instructor everything I eat and drink.

            That’s a crock – you know you cheat and leave the bad stuff out.

            You haven’t lost a pound.


I’m feeling great now that I’ve done my workout, eaten my sardines

on Wasa crackers with V8 – it’s finally time to write.

            And miss your favorite soap? Give me a break!

            John is in jail, they’ve kidnapped Jessica. You’ve got to see what happens.

No, I’ll be strong and write my blog post now, then start that chapter

for my latest opus. One Life To Live can wait – I’ll catch it on SoapNet later.

            Why not give up those writing dreams for good? Nobody’s reading anymore,

            they’re all too busy with their blogs and Tweets and Facebook status updates.

Yes, it’s a grand new global world. People are visiting my blog in droves,

saying how they love my writing. Three hundred visitors some days.

            How does that translate into book sales? Hah – it doesn’t, does it?

            I’ve seen your royalty statements – they’re pathetic. Play Solitaire instead.

No, it’s addictive and it brings me down! How can I get you out of my head for good?

I know – I’ll write a poem about my golden years and all my blissful options.

            You haven’t written poetry in ages. It’ll be garbage,

            but no one will know the difference, not if you read it at an open mic.

Hey, that’s an idea! There’s one tonight – Poets Speak Loud, at Tess’s Lark Tavern.

They always clap and cheer, and say how cool I am.

            They’ve got no class, and probably they’re drunk. Oh no, I’m feeling faint.

            I think I’m going out of your head . . .

Good riddance, Doppelganger!

©2010 Julie Lomoe

I took poetic license with the ski conditions – it’s pouring rain throughout the Capital Region and the Berkshires, and Jiminy’s closed today. Last night, when I began this poem, I didn’t realize how devastating this January rain storm would be. The radio is blasting flood warnings for Stratton and Bromley in southern Vermont. I wonder if all that machine-made snow will contribute to the flooding as it flows off the mountains. What if that were a motive for murder on the slopes . . .

Oh well, back to the subject of dialogues and inner critics. This is a great technique I learned many years ago, and a wonderful way of jump starting your creativity. I’ll blog more about it on Wednesday. For now, I’m off to the Lark Tavern and Mary Panza’s wonderful open mic, Poets Speak Loud. I’m looking forward to a fabulous blue cheese bacon burger too. And no, I won’t report it in my diet log.

One thought on “A Dialogue with my Inner Critic

  1. I guess I’ll continue this dialogue by leaving a comment for myself – how pathetic is that? (Oops, there’s my inner critic weighing in again.)

    The Poets Speak Loud event was great, very convivial. There was even birthday cake for Dan Wilcox, who handled emceeing duties for the night. Happy birthday, Dan! And happy birthday to Betsy Tuel and Amy Halloran as well!

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