No Competition

Recently, two plays that I directed (well, one of the plays and then people in both of them) received some nominations for the Wilde Awards, which are Michigan’s professional theater awards. One pleasant surprise for me, as I was reflecting on this, was that I feel healthy about this recognition. I remember when I was younger, that I was awfully bound up in outside opinions and awards. It has taken me an embarrassingly long time to get out of that way of thinking.

I started to wonder how Petra and Silas feel about that kind of thing. They haven’t ever competed in anything higher stakes than board games, so I wondered if they had any frame of reference at all.

I loved Silas’ response so much that I want to remember it forever (Petra wasn’t interested in discussing this at all).

Me: So anyway, I was thinking about these awards that we were nominated for, and I realized that they don’t change how I feel about the plays. I think the work is good, and it’s nice to hear that someone else thought it was good, but if we don’t win, I won’t wonder if the plays weren’t as good as I thought they were. When I was a kid, if I did a science fair project and it didn’t get a prize, that would make me think it wasn’t a good project. Or if it won, I would think it was a great project–but it wasn’t about the project itself, it was about what other people thought of it. I was curious whether you ever have that kind of feeling.

Silas: No, I just do things because I think they are fun. And I do my best. But I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Like, if I got a trophy for having the best stick collection, it wouldn’t make me love my stick collection more than I do. It wouldn’t change what my stick collection is or why it makes me happy.

Me: Would you say that you’re not a very competitive person?

Silas: I just don’t see the point in trying to be better than anybody else. It doesn’t make anyone happy.

Me: I think I’m a really competitive person, but I have learned that the only person worth competing with is Yesterday Aili.

Silas: Does that require a time machine?

I think we can all agree, though, that is one blue-ribbon stick collection.

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