I’ve been slightly troubled since reading Speaker7‘s variety show post. Not so troubled that I can’t sleep or eat, mind you. More like a deep, hmmmmm vibrating in my brain. I thought, if I had to be in a variety show, what sort of talent(s) could I bring to the table? Juggle flaming swords? Nope. Clog dance? Not a bit. Pull yards of colorful scarves from my mouth while appearing bewildered as to how I ate a sari and not realized it? Not a chance. I thought about it some more. I must have some sort of talent.
Within eighteen seconds, I determined that I am, most definitely, without talent. I can peel an apple so that the skin is one long, elegant spiral. I wouldn’t call it a talent, but my daughter thinks it’s cool. I mean, she’s only three, but still… I’m trying to work with what I have here. I consistently cook perfect bacon, which might not fall under the “talent” category, but it’s a skill that will make me shine if I reboot my stuck-in-purgatory match.com profile. And, when the mood strikes, I can pen a half-way decent poem.
When I was young, I could do everything and do it well. I was a fine dancer and gymnast. I could act and belt out a tune. I played musical instruments and I was an excellent artist. I could also write, spending hours upon hours writing and putting together scenes for the Barbie plays I would force my parents to watch or writing/organizing/directing plays and musicals for our holiday family get-togethers. I was, quite frankly, one brilliant ball of creativity.
So what in the hell happened? Did I blow all of my talent credits during my childhood?
Or is the real question (since I can’t fix or change the fact that I’ve been without talent for nearly a few decades now): do any of these gifts still quietly slumber within my bones, waiting for the day I awaken them? If I began to regularly practice one or more of my childhood abilities with utmost dedication, would my habit reawaken my talent? One would think that, if I actually possessed talent to begin with (because it’s unlikely I was truly talented in all mentioned above), then it would once again blossom.
One would think.
Or is it too late? Did I squander opportunities and now my only claim is Most Excellent Bacon Cook? Am I too old now? Are we ever too old?
I don’t think so, but there are nights when, after working all day and cooking and cleaning and exercising and scrubbing down the kid and playing rounds of Candyland and Chutes & Ladders and Play-Doh and finally convincing my stubborn child that she needs to sleep, I am exhausted. After the child is in bed, I sit down to revise scenes or fine-tune dialogue in my screenplay and I quite literally fall asleep during the process. I don’t feel like a spring chicken.
Perhaps I’ll never recapture the talents of my youth, which is fine because I no longer contain passion for the same activities. However, I can carry on with my current project, squeezing in writing sessions while the girl amuses herself with her allotted Leapster GS game time or as I drown in my morning coffee, and hope that the scraps of scenes will create entertaining sequences, and those sequences will eventually fuse into an engaging screenplay. Then I will repeat the process to finish my novel. Then I will move on to the next few outlines that patiently await in my bedside chest. I will likely be eighty years old at that point.
I might never have a work of genius, but I can practice until I am able to write a solid, charming story. I think it’s a perfectly reasonable goal.
Until then, I can dazzle people with perfectly cooked bacon.