Thursday, February 26, 2004

During the drives in to work lately, I've all but convinced myself that I'm a finalist on American Idol.

In the middle of traffic, I throw back my hair, grip the steering wheel meaningfully, and loudly belt my way through lyrics to songs I barely know…hoping the judges will see that what I lack in talent I make up for in stage presence and glamour.

"You are a star!" applauds my inner Paula as I wind down on a Cher-like finish.

Interestingly, that's one of the areas in which I was dinged on the aforementioned performance evaluation: Appraises others' work openly and honestly.

Writing is like singing, I guess. Those who can't do it very well are often the ones who persist in doing it, well, loudly. And since I've never been very keen on offering my own open and honest opinions, I find it helpful to fall back on a panel of judges.

The screechiest writing is most likely to bring out my Paula. At least to the person's face. "Well done! This is really… nice. I like it. That's all I can really say, it's just very good, very well done."

Sometimes I'll offer up a Randy. "I don't know, dawg. I just wasn't feeling it this time. It just wasn't for me, you know?"

Afterwards, Simon shakes his head. "Abysmal," he says. "Utterly terrible. I would honestly advise you never to approach a writing instrument again for the rest of your natural life. You simply cannot write."

But then there are those moments when I'm asked to read something that really is good, and that's when the judges leap to their feet and shout, "Outstanding!"

If only those moments were distinguishable from the Paulas. Perhaps I need name tags.

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