Santa Claus didn’t bring a memory machine, he didn’t bring a map to success, and he didn’t bring a clear reflecting pool of valuable insights. In spite of the flying reindeer and the living forever, he brings very ordinary toys.
I’m bound to run out of those true life stories. Some stories take too much whittling down to make them work here. Other stories are not compelling (which may be said of several already posted, but I’m an imperfect judge). I’m rummaging around among the stories half-forgotten and I’m ignoring the stories that I don’t want to tell.
What comes next? I hate hearing those lines, “His best days are behind him” or “She never could match that success again” or “His talent never did live up to his ambition” or oh so many others. Phrases like that are knives growing in my chest.
If Santa really can live forever, survive in subzero temperatures, make reindeer fly while hauling enough toys for all (properly santafied) children in one night (leaving enough time to eat more cookies than any god has ever been given), then why can’t he leave a big, sparkly box of ideas and a magic blanket of talent?
I suppose if I wanted these stories to last longer, I should’ve written slower. But then I’d worry even more about the proverbial bus of death that roars up and down streets.
So, do you think talent lasts forever?
8 thoughts on “Santa Claus is holding back.”
Does talent last forever? No. Maybe. Yes. It depends . . .
If ‘forever’ means one’s personal forever, then . . . well, it still depends. Talent is an emergent property of our human-ness. If we’re nurtured, given a balanced diet and lots of exercise, we maintain the potential for that talent. But as an emergent property, talent is an entity, too, with needs of its own. Surprisingly, those needs include nurturing (belief in their existence), a balanced diet (a broad experiential environment) and lots of exercise (write, write, write!).
If any of this babble totes around even a shred of validity, then the question changes to Can talent last forever? To that, I would say “Yes.”
Or “It depends.”
What was the question again?
Talent lasts forever. It’s innate. Passion, will, means, drive by which we shove our talent into the world do not. Talent shrinks back in the absence of one or all of those things, but I refuse to believe it disappears.
Don’t worry about running out of old stories. The new ones are good, too.
From the first time I visited here last summer, it was obvious I’d find truth in these “scenes from my life” posts, regardless of how factual the truth might be. This was even the case in the spinoff sites you’ve experimented with, whose posts were frankly fictional; it’s the case at your newer Words Are Art project site, too. You can’t help creatively burrowing your way to truth — to stories — even when the material is non-verbal.
At some point you may run out of material from real life. (Or at least run out of photos. :)) If and when that day comes, you may decide to put writing in the water on hiatus. But I really seriously doubt you’ll run out of stories. You’ve got truth — stories — practically bursting out of your pores.
Myself, I don’t worry about my blog too much. Have had those “What on earth am I going to write about today?” moments, expect I’ll have more. But I’ve got enough of a packrat mind that when worse comes to worst, I can just do a “hey, guess what I heard once” sort of post to tide me over.
“Real” writing: oboy. That, I worry about a lot. Have concluded that on average, I’m a better writer than storyteller… but also think I have one story I have to tell. The other stuff is falling rapidly to the wayside; I almost don’t care at all if it ever gets published. (Which is why I plunder that other writing so freely in my blog posts.) But I’m pretty sure I’ll have only one chance to tell that One Big Story, tell it well. If I can’t do that, I don’t care how good a writer I am or might be.
At root, writing (vs. storytelling) is pretty much a bag of mechanical tricks. (Think of Gandalf’s box of fireworks at Bilbo’s party: that’s writing.) The truth lies in the story, not in the writing. And telling the story is where the talent just emerges. So yeah: I think storytelling talent is pretty much inexhaustible. You’ll be okay, all your nervousness notwithstanding.
I find the stories compelling but I think that is a feature of how you write them. I think you’ll have run out if you reach the point where there aren’t any stories you still want to tell. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does then I’m sure you’ll find another outlet for your talent.
Marta- if you run out of stories or are just ready to move on to something else- that’s ok. “Something else” will appear on the horizon.
I’ve changed direction many times over the course of my publishing/writing career- recovery issues, education, academe, spirituality, parenting, various themed blogs, and so on. Now I’ve immersed myself in fiction, but even that changes- The novel I just wrote bears little resemblance to the novel I’m writing now. What remains consistent is the compelling desire to write. To me, that’s all that ultimately matters.
And even then- even if the desire to write fades away- I believe the creative impulse can live on in other forms- it’s the core of life. The key is to how we choose to engage and express it.
It does if it’s taken out and exercised from time to time.
I don’t know. What is talent?
A certain constellation of genetic abilities, personality types, world view, motivations, skill sets, neural patterns, physical habits, bodies of knowledge, reinforcements?
I don’t believe that there is one definition of talent, even of one person’s talent. I mean, you can have a person who can write beautiful stories in their sleep who will never do anything with it. And you can have a person who has to work on every single last word as if pulling teeth, get crtiiques and edits and still have to wrestle everything into shape, and they’re both talents. Or you can have someone who writes the most gorgeous words ever, but can’t connect to an audience, or someone who captures the hearts of the whole world, even if she writes like a 10th grader. And then you have how talent can grow and change and mutate in one single person.
No. I guess I don’t think it goes away. But I think it can change form so dramatically that the you of now wouldn’t recognize it. Oh. I guess things like neurosis or loss of interest can get in the way, too. Doesn’t mean the talent isn’t there, but I think people can lose access to it.
Tom, I’ll keep asking the question, so never fear.
Sherri, the newer the story the less I think I should write about it.
JES, I tend to think that writers have more than one story to tell. Maybe the others don’t feel like they’re there because that one is in the way. So hope to it.
fairyhedgehog and Sarah, I have other outlets (this much I know is true), but I do like the connections I’ve made here and would be sorry to lose it.
Shelly, when does exercise become the book?
Oh rowena, what is talent? A multitude of things and who can say for sure what they are? Let’s hope the talent is always there and we can find our way to it.