Of giving feedback on creativity

Do you have friends who take their hobbies seriously and pursue them as passions? Do you know people who can go to the lengths of interpreting a stick diagram as a complex piece of art? Do you also happen to know, by chance, the people who are on the receiving end of such works of creativity and are (comically) put in positions to critique, give feedback, and such?

If so, you are not alone.

I happen to have some really enthusiastic folks around me who happen to make some ‘me’ time, effectively in their day. As one of them said, and I quote, “Make a life, in fact, get a life after 6 pm!”. Gaah, if only that were possible for all us minions running the ever extending conveyor belt, Virtual Insanity style. (For those who did not get the reference, it is a song by the band Jamiroquai).

While I find it endearing that these folks around me think me worthy enough to share their artistic creations, I often find myself in a foot in mouth state where everything I seem to say, either gets differently interpreted, slightly, recover-ably or totally off track.

I will quote two hilarious instances from my life — which has inspired me after quite sometime to actually write this blog, finally dusting the cobwebs off the medium account which was created a few months ago.

  1. The one with the unique tune

So, this friend of mine who is a very versatile person, shared an audio clip of a tune he composed. To my novice ears, it sounded very heavy on keyboards and (synth, maybe?). And he asked me, what is the first thing that comes to your mind after listening to this tune?

The pseudo nerd within me said, hey this sounds rather mysterious, infact it kind of reminds of the Doctor Who theme. I think it would make a fabulous theme for a sci-fi or mystery series.

<Insert some Awkward silence here>

I go, “Hey, so was that the thought you had in mind?”

<Insert some more awkward silence here>

He went, “Actually,no. I was keeping this an introduction theme to the hero/protagonist for this short movie. I had been asked to compose music for that one”.

Needless to say, I haven’t heard from him since. (Meaning, with respect to sharing creative content and the whole feedback hoopla)

2. The one with the bark

This one is even more hilarious (of course, one ought to have been there to sense the comedy). I was crashing at a friends place in a different city over a long weekend. We were not very close during our school days, yet she was kind enough to invite me over multiple times to crash as needed. (I was attending a concert in the same city, hence proved.)

Even though there might have been certain awkwardness initially she was kind and a generous host and made me feel so welcome. She was married about 1 year since at that time and her husband was also very nice to me.

So on the day I arrived, we get into discussions and such and her husband shows me some of his paintings, most of which I gather are still life or nature or silhouettes. Okay, Teal , splendid job with the feedback, no foot in mouth thingies yet.

And then, he shows me something which I will try to re-create in as kiddish a form as possible, with little or practically no attention to details.This is how it looked to me:

[Image source : Definitely not me, thank you Google.]

Just try to imagine the dark brown as concentric rounded rectangles of sorts. My first response to that was — “Hey that is a fabulous interpretation of toasted bread!”

<Insert ice-cold stares mixed with open mouthed shock here>

He goes “No…it …is….supposed … to be … a trunk of a….tree.”

I spent the next 2 days being extra cautious — nah, these were good sports and I was well pampered and felt right at home :-)

Having said all this, I have been on the receiving end of some nasty feedback me-self. A person whose opinion I deeply respect, once read my poetry and had rather openly remarked that my work was enough to push suicidal people off the edge!

Hell, if I can bounce back from that and still attempt to write, all that is said and done is trivial in comparison, isn’t it?