Thursday, March 3, 2011

Even Beethoven did it


From the Writer's Almanac this morning: On this day in 1802, Ludwig van Beethoven published the "Moonlight" Sonata. Its official title is Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Opus 27, No. 2. He was never happy about the sonata's popularity. He said, "Surely I've written better things."

How many times has someone complimented you, and you replied, not with a thank you, but with a , "But, I messed this up here..."
To quote my new favorite philosopher Charlie Sheen, "Everything after but is dial tone."
I almost did it the other day. A friend of my son's was visiting, and I mentioned that I was in the middle of organizing my new sewing studio. She asked if she could see something I had made. There was a little throw quilt on the back of a chair, and while she admired the colors of the batiks and the intricacies of the piecing, I just barely kept myself from pointing out all of the flaws. After she left,I was talking to Mr. Hunting Creek, (my second favorite philosopher) and he pointed out that when someone admires something we've done and we point out the flaws, what we are doing is criticizing their lack of discernment. Just think of what Beethoven was really saying...he had written better things, what rubes we are to not appreciate those things, and what fools we are to like the Moonlight Sonata instead. That's not very nice, is it? My mom always said that when someone compliments you, just say thank you and shut up. (Along with never complain and never explain. Charlie might keep that in mind).

5 comments:

AuntieAllyn said...

Hmmm, hadn't really considered Mr. Hunting Creek's viewpoint, but he could be onto something there. I often have the urge to make those same types of negative comments about my work when others compliment it, but I try my best just to graciously accept the well wishes.

Beangirl. said...

This is an admirable goal... I like MLHC's interpretation of this phenomenon.

Keeping my mouth shut is something I strive for on a daily basis... rather unsuccessfully, you will have noticed. hmmm... must mull this over... also, note to self: pay more attention to Charlie Sheen.


that is something I never thought I'd hear myself say.

Venus de Hilo said...

Excellent advice. And who knew Charlie Sheen was a philosopher!?
I try to just say "Thanks. I'm glad you like it." Not sure I agree with MLHC, though. When someone shows interest in our creation, I think it's natural to want to share (perhaps awkwardly) some of our creative process and experience. Those places where we struggled naturally come to mind more than the parts that went together smoothly.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I read 3 or 4 years ago somewhere (obvs I am vague on the details) sort of along the line of what Mr. Hunting Creek said: When you do not graciously accept a compliment with a "thank you" and no more, you are questioning the complimenter's taste. Women especially are accustomed to downplaying compliments as though we never deserve to hear nice things or we are in danger of an overblown ego if we agree. This was a real epiphany to me and I have never responded to a compliment with anything other than "thank you" and maybe "I love this one, too" since. People don't seem to mind that I fail to deflect their compliments!

AuntieAllyn said...

Oh, forgot to mention, your quilt looks lovely!!! I really like your selection of fabrics. And what's not to love about the log cabin pattern!