Or The Dangers of Talking Too Much
A few months ago, a friend asked if he could come by with a friend of his whose son needed a little advice about his art education.
Normally, I don’t accept visits and meetings of any kind, but of course make exceptions for friends of friends of friends of…
So, they came by, and I thoughtfully gave my thoughts, at some length, about what I thought I thought.
Naturally, none of this is deontological, nor am I particularly qualified to talk about career planning and education. I detest gurus and smooth talkers of any kind (salespeople and proselytizers do not ring our doorbell a second time). It’s nothing but common sense and pencils talking.
I’m also wary when there is an urgent need for simple advice. Sometimes you meet individuals who are so badly in need it’s like standing on the edge of a cliff. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the sound of one’s own voice, in the glib thoughts that spill off one’s tongue.
(I also cordially loathe all those Put-Artist’s-Name-Here ® Painting Techniques™, but that is another subject entirely.)
At any rate, I met a pleasant young man who was having a difficult year in school and simply needed to weigh a few advantages and disadvantages. There was a fair bit of thoughtful slow nodding of heads and I did do my best to convey a few ideas about which I feel strongly.
A few weeks later, our friend said to my wife “You know, John’s a lot more intelligent than I thought.”
Now you see why I don’t accept visitors. Wouldn’t want that kind of news to get around…
For those of you who read French, here is the (lengthy) article from the winter 2006/2007 issue of Saisons d’Alsace.
This is the last week it can be found in the newsstands, but it can be obtained by contacting:
Les Saisons d’Alsace,
3 rue Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune,
Tel :00 33 3 88 15 77 27.