Thursday, December 26, 2013

Honesty is More Valuable than Praise

Here's an anecdote:

After most people had left, one of the few remaining guests at the Christmas party I was at happened to be a musician. The hosting family has been known to enjoy his music, so he offered to put in a CD of his, which they were delighted to hear.
"That's me playing the drums on the keyboard," he said during one track, "it's really bad."
I had only just entered the room, and had not heard enough to have an opinion, but it was probably not bad at all. One of the other guests even said "nonsense! It's really good!"
As we passed each other, I chimed in, saying "I thought it was terrible."
"Thanks," he laughed at my sarcastic remark.
After a moment or two of consideration, I realized that this was a fellow creative mind I was in the midst of, and that I understood his nervousness in standing around and listening, waiting to get some sort of feedback and hoping for it to be good. I know what it's like to want to apologize for all the minor flaws that you see in your own work.
I decided to offer up a bit of wisdom on the subject. "Unless people cut you down every once in a while, you'll never get better," I said.
"That's deep," he replied.

I've met creative minds who were terrified of being critiqued. Obviously I didn't actually give the musician a real opinion or advice on his music, since I'd not even really listened to it, but it was nice to meet someone who understood the value of being told your work is crap from time to time.

Always tell me if my work is crap.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Damnit, Snow!

I had things to say this month about interesting topics such as existentialism, sexism, and fibromyalgia. I also could have come up with something to say about my writing.

Instead I want to tell you how quickly I've learned to dislike snow.
Some learn quicker than others.
We all know how it goes, right? When you're a kid, every time that frosty white stuff falls from the sky it's a sign of a possible snow day. You watch your parents shovel the driveway and sidewalk and pile it up onto the yard for you to enjoy, ignoring their warnings that someday you'll despise the chilled white gold.

My Kia Rio does not do so well on the roads when there's any more than zero snow beneath the tires, and the drive to and from work takes anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes. I've discovered that that time can double because of the very substance that I once leaped for joy to see.
Not only do I have to deal with the painful art of becoming mobile after a stop thanks to manual gear shifting, but just about every car on the road is bigger than me. This wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the odd fact that people who've grown up with snow their whole lives forget how to drive in it during the seasons in which it does not fall.

Thankfully I've not been in an accident or spun out yet, but with my daily commute being longer than ever in the past, I cannot confidently assume that I never will.

At least I don't have to deal with shoveling. Yet.