What is talent?
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one becomes a master.” Ernest Hemingway.
Six years ago I was working on my first book. It was a self published book of short stories and I got confirmation from the publisher before I had a definite idea of what I was going to actually do.
The was to be a book of short stories which I had written over the years. The problem was I had ten stories and four of those were just too horrible to publish. I was so dead set on publishing something, that i just decided to write like crazy and do all the things that I ever wanted to do to experiment with writing. I was writing a blog on Myspace at the time (can you believe that site is still around?) and I carried around a notebook in San Francisco, faking that I was a beat writer. I loved the glamour of it, but at the same time I understood I wasn’t very good. Then one day I was sitting outside of Java Beach Cafe and i wrote down this prose:
Why is there that dreadful despair?
That meandering distraction?
I think I could be good.
I think I have potential to be a good, if not great writer.
It’s such a difficult process, and yet
for many people it just flows,
As if their body excreted talent.
I have potential.
Many people have potential.
There are plenty of cases of first publish at first go.
There are also those who have no potential,
or to be frank,
people who don’t know what their doing.
I’m in a middle group,
between the ignorant and the talented.
I have potential.
I study art.
I’m no artist.
I contemplate it. I assimilate it. I gorge in it, and
I fake it.
To people with talent. It’s a drive.
It’s ever present, forceful.
It becomes deleterious in it’s absence.
The ignorant don’t understand at all.
they see a great piece of fiction
and they don’t know what it means.
It needs to be spelled out.
It is after all…work.
They don’t feel the drive so it doesn’t make sense.
It’s a wonderment.
I have potential. I study it. I see art.
I appreciate art. I love art.
I am not artistically inclined.
I do not have talent, I have potential.
I rambled on for a little while longer, but I think the idea is prevalent here. The idea that I didn’t elucidate here was the amount of work that you have to put in. NOthing in this field comes easily, and where there are people like Dickens, Proust, King, and Shakespeare, who apparently can just sit down and pour out their creativity, for most of us it’s work. We need to write, and re-write, and edit and re-write again. I finished off that prose-poem, by saying that I wanted to fool the world into thinking that I have talent. I think my talent has grown, but that’s because of the work that I’ve put in.
So for everyone out there who wants to be a writer? Just sit down and tell some stories. It doesn’t matter how good they are, how literary they are, how robust. As long as they come from your heart, you can continue and you too will develop that talent.