Friday, December 7, 2012

Fridaydream: the nicest compliment you've ever received

What's the nicest compliment you've ever received?

I'm not sure it's THE NICEST, and I'm not sure he really meant it as a compliment, but my dad (hi Dad!) once told me that I'd make a good lawyer. We were in the midst of a "discussion" about something at the time, of course.

I think about that every time I'm working on a contract negotiation that's gotten a little strained, and it never fails to toughen me up for at least one more round. Because what he really meant by that is that sometimes, I like to be in a fight. And he was right.

What's the nicest-- or maybe the strangest?-- compliment you've ever received? Got any good stories?

9 comments:

elisabethcrisp.com said...

My 88 year old father said of my 8 year old daughter, "She's a lovely child."

It's not really about me, but when you have a child you really do feel like your heart is walking around outside of your body.

Jenny H said...

Hands down, it was from my long time yoga teacher and mentor. She had told me to stop doing some habitual thing I was doing in a pose that was hindering me, and then the next time she saw me I jokingly said, said, “Look, it’s gone!” She said, “I never had any doubt. That’s one thing about you, you don’t get attached to things. Once you see that something isn’t working, it’s gone forever.” It was a strange “compliment,” but I totally took it as one and since then I’m always tried to apply that idea to all aspects of life, not just yoga poses!

jo-eberhardt said...

I often get "interesting" compliments from my five year old son. Sometimes they're even nice things. (Unlike the "You have so many beautiful wrinkles" one!)

The other day we were talking about school and education and he said, "Can you keep learning after you finish university? Because I want to go to school and university and then every other school in the whole world so I can know as many things as you do, Mummy."

Kaye Draper said...

That is a great one! I've heard the you like to argue "compliment" too, in regards to my job. My husband once told me that my job was good for our marriage because I got to fight with people all day, so when I get home I've gotten it all out of my system ;) (At the time I worked with people emerging from coma, who were very combative, aggressive, and behavioral).

I think the best one lately was when I told a sweet elderly gentleman that he wasn't safe to be driving anymore because of a condition that was causing some cognitive changes. Irate, confused, and completely opposed to everything I'd just told him, he nonetheless told me "you're a very compassionate person. You're gentle." He had felt that his referring doctor was cold and insensitive. Even though I hate, hate, HATE being in that position, that little grain of gratitude helps me keep going. (Clears throat, um until that big book deal, you know...)

Jessica Brockmole said...

Loving all of these comments! Jo, that's definitely a compliment to hold close.

I remember soon after I'd finished writing my first novel, I tried NaNoWriMo in an attempt to begin a second. It was a little terrifying, because, while a first novel could just be a let's-see-if-I-can-do-it attempt, a second felt like more of a commitment, a more serious move in the direction of a writing career. It was also the time that I first came out as a writer. I'd written the first in secret, but here I was out at write-ins, nervously meeting other writers and hoping I wouldn't reveal myself as a fraud.

One day I came into a write-in, exhausted. I mentioned somewhat sheepishly to another Wrimo that I'd literally fallen asleep on my keyboard the night before, realizing belatedly that I'd admitted this to the one published author in our group. But she just nodded and then said, "You're going to make it. Anyone who writes until she can't keep her head up is a writer." It was such a validation and something that I've repeated to myself often over the years.

Kara said...

At a week-long, super-intense conference, I had an hour long sit-down with my mentor, a well-respected children's book editor. After 55 minutes of what felt like crazy painful brain surgery without anesthesia, he turned to me and said "I'm only this grouchy because you're so f*ing good. If you weren't amazing, I could be a lot nicer and give you a pat on the hand and send you on your way. You know that, right?" I keep those words with me when I feel really really stuck...

DustySE said...

A creative writing instructor once called my writing "Hemingway-esque". I clung to this compliment at the time because the others in the class were the sort of writers who produce beautiful and poetic prose and (as is probably obvious from the compliment) my own writing is at best very stark. Workshopping was (to say the least) hard in that class.

My professor's compliment reminded me that not all writers are the same - that I could write totally differently from the others in the class and still be good. I'm no Hemingway, of course - but I still remember that compliment when I'm thrown into despair by my own inability to write in beautiful poetic language!

Robert Miller said...

Courtney, I'm pretty sure your dad really meant it as a compliment.

Gwen Tolios said...

A friend told me once that whenever I'm with her, she can't help but be happy.

Writing wise, I have a habit of turning to fanfiction when I just need to write and get ideas flowing. I once had a reviewer tell me they loved my story so much, it turned into canon in their head.