I’ve been thinking about talent a lot lately, and also about the whatever it is that drives us to follow certain paths. Why does one person dance, another preach, another write novels? Is talent a thing? Where does it come from? How do we know if we have it—or don’t?
It is a snowy Friday morning. The pine tree outside my second floor window holds up ice cream cones of powdery snow. It is utterly quiet aside from the dog snoring at my feet and a pair of finches commenting on the state of affairs.
I am writing.
I am writing, because writing is what I do. Writing is my job, of course. It is my vocation and my passion. It’s also the way I make sense of confusing ideas, when I write letters or engage in discussions online. I write in my journals to discover what I’m thinking, and to create a record of my days, just the ordinary things, the big and small (nearly all small, frankly, as the details of our lives tend to be). I write about the weather and my pets. I write the details of a world that exists only in my imagination, and about the looming reality of my beloved leaving his very cushy job to pursue other passions. I write about my grandmother and my granddaughters, painting and the garden, sisters and the Black Death and travel and possibility. In my journals, I’ve written my way to understanding that I had to end a marriage, and then, to know I was ready to make a new commitment.
Writing is my oldest friend, my most reliable and long term companion. As long as I can remember, the page has always been there, the words rolling around in my head, and pouring onto the page. It has nothing to do with talent or training. It’s something that flowed into my life so early I can’t even remember it not being there. That must be at the very least a sort of genetic leaning—I come from a long line of Irish mystics and storytellers.
Is that talent? [Read more…]