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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Sex and drugs and rock'n'roll
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j4 From: j4 Date: October 2nd, 2004 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)
without seeming arrogant or presumptuous

This seems to be something you worry about a lot, with -- as far as I can tell -- very little grounds for worrying.

And I certainly can't see how it could be construed as either arrogant or presumptuous for you to make statements about my writing. It's more or less impossible for quality-judgements of descriptive writing to be anything other than subjective.

I'm flattered that you liked the post, anyway. Thank you.
livredor From: livredor Date: October 9th, 2004 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I worry about coming across as arrogant primarily because it happens to me a lot. I've always known that I'm intelligent, and I've always been taught to express myself clearly and confidently (plus some people make assumptions based on my accent). But on top of that, I feel really awkward praising people for doing things well that I am completely unable to do myself.

I think this is part of the same worry I used to have when I was a teenager: I was always reluctant to give compliments to adults, because I was worried that they would think it preposterous that a mere kid would imagine that her opinion mattered to a real person. I got over that, partly because I think of myself more or less as a person rather than a kid these days, and partly because I think most people like compliments.

The secret is probably to stick to statements equivalent to "I really like your writing" rather than "Your writing is really good." But thank you for reassuring me anyway.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 11th, 2004 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I sort of see what you mean...

Having said that I can't think of a single reason why I'd be offended by somebody praising me for something they can't do themself. The only negative reaction I'd be likely to have would be to argue with them about it, I mean to tell them that I'm not really as good as they think -- e.g. if somebody told me that I was a really good violinist I'd suspect they'd not heard many violinists (I'm competent, and more confident than I used to be, but that's a long way off 'very good').

I think what it comes down to is that if somebody who obviously knows nothing about a particular field praises me for my efforts in that field, I'd take the compliment as a nice-thing-to-say rather than a useful critical assessment of my skills. I don't mean that to sound dismissive, I just ... oh, I'm not explaining this very well. I just hope you know what I mean. So much for my lucid writing. ;)

But, anyway, your writing on LJ suggests that writing is something you can do yourself, so I suspect that even if lack-of-ability in a field disqualified you as a reviewer (and if that were generally true, the reviews pages of the newspapers would be empty) you'd still have a 'right' to comment.

Hope that makes sense.
Read 57 | Write