I’m hard on my clothes.
No, seriously. I am. I wear things out – my jeans get ripped and threadbare, my favourite tee shirts have holes everywhere, and my sweaters have seen better days. There are rips in the pockets of my winter coat*, the linings of my jackets are all frayed, and my shoes have holes in them.
I’m hard on my computers – I work them to death. I’ve gone through three laptops in six years, and I fully expect this one to die sometime next winter. There’s a crack in my tablet screen, too.
I’m hard on people. I am critical, and judgemental, a lot – I try not to be, but in my heart of hearts, I know I don’t extend much internal courtesy when I think people are being idiots.** I keep working on that, but it’s, you know, — HARD.
I’m hard on writers, too. When I edit, I am snarky and blunt. I want them to be better, and I lack the gene that knows how to slide that editorial knife in with a dollup of sugar. I just say “This is crap – rewrite it.” and then I move on to the next authorial blunder. (In my defense, most of my authors improve a lot from the first book to the second, so this might be less of a fault than it looks like.)
But most of all, I am hard on myself. As a writer, as a friend, as a human being – I know that I fall short of my ideals every goddamned day, and I lay awake beating myself up over it pretty much every night.
To be honest, I don’t know anyone of any worth who doesn’t.
*My English winter coat. My Canadian winter coat is much tougher than I am.
**Did you know that our word “idiot” is from the Greek “idiotas” which referred to citizens who didn’t take politics and good governance seriously? True story.