I've mentioned I like playing guitar right? Whether it's acoustic or plugged in and loud electric, it's a satisfying way of enjoying music, keeping my albeit limited skills current, and relaxing (how, you ask, can slammin away on a guitar be relaxing?). But for me it can.
With the acoustic, you pretty much get what you get - gentle melodic tunes no matter how hard or soft you play. It's reward is that it gives you back exactly what you expect.
The electric, on the other hand, is a different game. With my penchant for lots of gain and crunchy effects, the spectre of feedback raises it's head. Not that it's an entirely bad thing mind. Take "Inside" by Stiltskin - once the chorus gets going, the third chord in always gets feedback, and it sounds good. "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead is another - the playout involves a repititon of three chords, and the gap in between the series is filled by feedback. Cool.
On the other hand, when I'm trying to play one of my favouite tunes and I get that annoying screech, I get cross. "Oi guitar, don't tell I'm doing it wrong..." So, not all feedback is good.
Or is it?
When I set this blog up, one of the questions I was asked was "allow comments?" I sat and thought for a moment. Do I want comments? Would I read them? Would I value them? Would they make me laugh, sad or angry?
On holiday blogs I've done before, I left comments open so we could arrange to meet people and I could get very important information updates (ie, rugby scores) and I didn't mind people sharing in and commenting on our journey (especailly when we went round the world). My personal blog though was a different question.
I thought about comments I'd left on other people's blogs, whether congratulating them on a good piece, poem or prose, or joining in with their humorous slant on something topical. I have never posted anything conflicting with the bloggers work - would I want others to do the same to me?
I ticked the allow comments box on reflection.
What's a song without others listening to it, singing or clapping along? What's a play without an audience to shout "bravo" at the end? What's a piece of work you grind away at and no one thanks you or berates you for? It's simply your thoughts that you've committed to paper, no discussion, no debate, it's just a diary.
Without any feedback, how many things would be different in life? So many I couldn't even begin to list them here. Imagine trying to teach someone to ride a bike without giving them feedback - difficult wouldn't even describe it. Isn't it in our natural tendencies to help someone out with a bit of coaching or advice when things aren't working? And don't thousands of people retweet the 140 or so characters they find funny or interesting when they read them?
If someone calls in to question my argument or thoughts, isn't that OK then? Isn't everyone entitled to their own opinion, and by scribbling down mine for all to see, I should at least offer the right to reply. I believe so. Conflicting thoughts may give me something to ponder on, options I'd not considered or previously dismissed.
Like the draft manuscript sent to the editor for opinion and appraisal, the comments box is my objective ear and I look froward to hearing from it.
So not all feedback is good? Sure it is, it's just my guitar skills that need work.