Use negative words for good

An art teacher once told me my art work lacked emotion.
I was only young.
And, on top of that, the teacher added, my creative endeavours were unlikely to amount to much.
I’ll never forget those words. Once upon a time, they disarmed me, then they came to motivate me.
In recent years I rarely think of them.
Last week, the same teacher sent me a WhatsApp message. He asked, did I remember him?
Yep, I said.
What do you do, nowadays? he enquired.
Well, I said, I’ve worked for many years in mental health care.
Oh, he said, you didn’t pursue art then?
I do recall you suggesting my art wouldn’t amount to much, I stated.
Did I?
Yes.
Never mind, he offered, art isn’t for everyone. It’s a tough nut to crack. You’ve either got it, or you haven’t.
Oh, I did pursue it, I typed.
Oh good, he said. It’s good to have a hobby.
Fuck it, I thought. Then typed some more.
Yes. Since 2012 I have finished around 2500 pieces, had three shows in New York, two in Berlin, one in Florence and Rome, have given talks in France and Germany, won seven awards, drawn commission pieces for several celebrities and have a sideline in erotic art which has attracted many collectors.
Oh, he replied.
So, the moral of this ramble is to not let others negative words define you. No one, and I mean no one, has any right to criticise you, except yourself. If someone offers criticism, use it. Take it in both hands and use it as motivation. One day you may have the opportunity to remind them that their words were the impetus you needed.
My old teacher, at the precise moment his words left his lips and drifted in to my ears, merely proved that he was not doing his job. His job was to encourage, to nurture ability and draw out creativity. Strangely enough, I took no pleasure in telling him all this stuff. I found it all rather sad.
Words are very potent when used the right way. Using them any other way is invariably a bitter pill.
The End.

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