Tuesday, March 02, 2021

"I Know What I Like"

How many times have we said that? "I know what I like." Despite what the critics may say, regardless of what others say and do, how many of us refuse to be lemmings and follow the leader, even though we're secretly thinking, "But..."

I still recall attending a play at a theatre in another town, a theatre that I supported both with attendance and financially--and leaving at intermission because I wasn't being entertained. I knew the man in charge of the theatre, and was aware that he chose the plays. I had the temerity of telling him not only that we had left at intermission, but why. His response has been hard to forget. "Anything by *****, even a flawed one, is worth watching." (I won't say who the playwright was--you fill in the blanks.)  My reply should have been, "But I know what I like...and this isn't it." Instead, I left it alone. Now that I'm older, I realize that his mentality was that he knew what was good for me, even if I didn't. And to my mind, that's wrong.

As an author, I have always advocated reading widely. Read the good stuff so you know what is good. Read the bad stuff so you know what to avoid. But never, ever, ever try to make everyone happy. Some people will like what we write, others won't. They have their own likes and dislikes. And that's fine. That's how it should be. Free choice. 

What do you think? Is my attitude the wrong one, or the right one? Let me know what you think.


Priscilla Bettis said...

I agree. If you try to please everybody, you end up watering down the best elements of a story in order to fit in all the people-pleasing elements.

Patricia Bradley said...

Your attitude is absolutely not wrong! I feel the same way. I learned early on that not everyone would like what I write, so I might as well write what I like to read. :-)

I'm so tired of the media telling me what to like and not like...and telling me what I just heard in a speech. lol

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla and Patricia--you're absolutely right (and not just because you agree with me). BTW, the play I walked out on was one of the lesser ones by Jacques Brel. I still don't agree that "even a flawed Brel is worth watching." I know what I like (and it's not always what the critics like--in drama, restaurants, or books).