You've Got Talent... or not.

This guy seemed perfectly happy within his talent. He'd never be famous, never make a lot of money. But he could carve those little totems like nobody's business.

I think I can write well. People tell me that I write well. Although it's pretty much all people who care about me on one level or another, so who knows?

What I do know is that I've got most of the crunchy grammar stuff down and that I can construct a reasonable sentence. But what about style? I can't really read my own writing and define my own style. That's like trying to feel the texture of the road from inside your car. You can only get an impression, not the reality of it.

Here's the thing. Most of those people who audition for American Idol believe they have talent. Their mom or dad or sister tells them how wonderful they are, how much POTENTIAL they have and that they should never let anyone tell them not to pursue their dreams. But many, MANY of them have no more ability to sing than I do. And I have none.

So is it better to let them pursue their dreams, live in the fantasy, the impossible fantasy that they will ever get close to that goal of becoming an American Idol? Or is that just cruel? Because someone is going to tell them they suck, eventually. Wouldn't it be better if it was done gently by someone who loves them?

Also, what about the predators? What about the talent agencies who are happy to take money for some glossies and promises? Our world is full of instructors and schools who purport to teach drawing, writing, acting, etc. to absolutely anyone for a price. What if blind support drives a loved one into the arms of one of these... vultures?

There are more Salieri (Salierii?) in this world than Mozarts. That's too kind really because Salieri was actually supposedly a very talented man. He was just no Mozart. I'm talking about those without the real natural talent who strive to achieve something their whole lives, but never really get there.

It's paralyzing.

Then I think about those Salieri folk who make it big anyway. They are out there certainly in every art. Writers with best-selling novels who are in love with passive voice, artists who sell their paintings for thousands because some guy said they were the latest and greatest, pop stars with pretty faces and voices strained ruthlessly through electronic magic.

I start to believe that fame and talent have nothing to do with each other. Or much less than one would guess. Fame might actually be mostly determination and stamina, self-delusion and dumb luck.

So where does that leave me?

Writing for my own personal pleasure, as always.

Hoping faintly that someday my words will be more than they are now.

Being content with all the spectacular things in my life and whatever happens with my writing, happens.

That's about the size of it.




  1. Like the layout better!

  2. Thanks Suzy. Your advice was perfect.

  3. It looks like your posts are under the spotlights now. Like it. With you it is writing and with my hubby it is composing music. I think if it brings joy and contentment to be doing those things you feel are within you then it is a good thing. Being reasonably good at something and presenting it to the public and then letting it go is healthy. You stuck your neck out there and you enjoyed the ride getting there.

  4. Well, if everybody is talented there'd be no spectacular failures to witness :)
    I am an average writer and I envied those who can express themselves, anyway they want.
    I envied those with talents, yes.
    And I am also a bloody good teacher, (even though I neglected paperwork) and no one can take that away from me. :P
    Try to be happy with what we have.

  5. Thanks TB. But do you think I'd be more productive if I was less lazy or less afraid? Who is the real culprit? Or is there a culprit at all? I should just enjoy the ride.

    Thanks Shadow. I will try to be happy with what I have. :)

  6. Most writers are compelled to write. But to become a successful writer, you need to be ambitious and have a tough skin and be a little bit lucky. Good luck and keep writing!

  7. Your writing talent and the sad talentless people on American Idol are two very different things-- just for the record. What they do on Idol with the folks that are clearly "limited" is shameful and all about ratings.
    Same with the talent agency predators. Ugh.

    I absolutely agree blind luck and/or "connections" play a part in some (very average) people's success. And I know that some people's success/talent isn't recognized for a very, very long time. So all that said, you're right. Being content and writing for yourself is what it's all about.

    And I just read here--

    ...that Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell was rejected by 38 publishers before it was published-- Harry Potter, 14 times. I'm just sayin...


  8. Thanks very much Juli. If I'm not writing, I'm dying. No choice in the matter really, which is a good problem to have.

    Joanna, that reminder about the rejections is important. While the very sentiment might encourage those who should not be encouraged, I still take some comfort in the idea that I'm a long way from ringing out the possibilities.

    By the way, Stephen King (after more than 30 rejections) got $400,000 for Carrie. Wow!


  9. Writing for your own pleasure is what it's all about. Really.


  10. I think you are absolutely right Pearl. Thanks for reading.

  11. Anonymous26/8/10 06:50

    Success requires obsession more than luck. The thought of luck is a mind-killer, introducing doubt into a mixture that should be all pursuit and sweat.

  12. I love how you write Casey. Now, if you were a terrible writer I wouldn't tell you that. I would just click away without leaving a comment. I would never let you know that what you do and say impacts me.

    Kaish just started acting and singing classes and I think he is SO great. I don't know if it is just because I am his Mama : ) or if he really is or not. Who knows : ) Maybe those people that are trying out for American Idol really have family that believes they are good even when they are terrible.


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