In my day job, I work for a poetry non-profit, and every day I hear from very nice but deluded people who think their poetry is amazing and can’t figure out why nobody wants to publish them. These are people who don’t read poetry, don’t care about contemporary poetry, and write nice rhyming greeting card verse. They think that they’re talented geniuses because everyone around them tells them so, probably out of politeness. I mean if someone’s forcing their poetry on you, and you are not a person who reads or cares about poetry, you’re going to listen and then say, “Wow, that’s amazing. You should be in the New Yorker!”
If some of these folks went to a workshop and got honest feedback about their work, along with recommendations for good poets to read and more of an education about what’s going on in the post-Frost universe of poetry, they could probably actually be amazing poets. I do not want to be the food version of that. That is my fear.
I’ve been reading this thread on egullet about people’s worst experiences eating at someone else’s house, and a big theme seems to be people who think they are gourmet cooks but are in fact completely clueless. That is my other fear.
It’s just strange to try and learn things outside of a classroom setting, I guess. My interests in food and cocktails are the first things I’ve tried to get knowledge about that I have absolutely no formal training in, and it’s oddly hard to figure out how to get better.
Maybe next time I’ll give my guests comment cards to fill out or something. I guess that makes me a selfish host, demanding that they do something for me other than just enjoying themselves and being charming. Dammit. This social grace stuff is hard.