RE: Telling people you care about that you don’t like their art or music

Well, I sent the following: “Great song!” I didn’t add the additional truth that “I don’t like it,” because then would have come, “What didn’t you like about it?”

Of course, this means I’ll be getting more of those mushroom white sauce spaghetti dinners, but if they didn’t kill you, hey, I’ll survive.

We have to distinguish here between a cover and an original work. If you perform “Silly Love Song,” or “Imagine,” I can and will say that I don’t like them. I actually hate them, but that’s not a criticism of you. If you compose a bad song, it’s your child, and I have to tread carefully if you are a friend or relative. If you write lots of songs, I can say “I don’t like that one as much as the others,” or even “No, I don’t care for it.” But if you kill yourself on it for 6 months, I’ve got myself a dilemma.

Did you hear this story about Gustave Flaubert? He had written some boring book, and he read it aloud to his friends. For four days. When he had finished, he looked up, and one of them said, “Throw it in the fire and never speak of it again. Why don’t you write a book about that doctor’s neurotic wife?” And thus was born …

Madame Bovary.

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