While jealousy is not generally in my nature, I admit that in following my calling, there are times that the green-eyed monster sometimes shows up when I witness the brilliance in the talents of others.
I remember back in high school, seeing some of my friends come in to their own callings very early, either by singing a song with the professionalism that would rival anyone on the radio, or giving a jaw-dropping award-winning acting performance on our auditorium stage. I also often envied the friends with a knack for doodling in class and whose drawings put my crooked stick figures to shame.
The ones that had me the most envious were the ones who could pick up an instrument in any setting and get a crowd singing along or to provide the music that created moments to remember. I would even add to the mix those natural athletes who seemingly excel at any sport they try, or are born Olympians in one sport.
In the game of talent, I sometimes think that they were the cool kids who got picked first while the “word nerds” got picked last.
If you think of the way writers are stereotyped in film and TV, it isn’t always the most flattering of images: a disheveled, sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed, introverted loner, surrounded by enough books to get him on an episode of “Hoarders”, who smokes and drinks too much and wears the same old moth-eaten sweater with patches on the elbows, who stubbornly refuses to adapt to new technology. Thank you TV and movie directors everywhere! Where are the impeccably dressed cool writers, with the kind manners of a gentleman and a scholar, who drive hot cars and live in modern homes that are neat as a pin, living a well-adjusted life surrounded by the perfect family and loving fans? Oops!.. ok maybe too far the other way!
What I think is the fine line between the first group of talented individuals and writers is that their talents play out actively. They perform in the presence of spectators thus eliciting a spontaneous reaction, as both are together and in the moment. There is a certain communing that takes place, as the audience gets energized from the performance, and then the performer feeds on the audience’s energy. That bonding is a joy to behold and to experience.
In the realm of writing, the two key events, writing and reading, are happening at two separate times. Often, the gaps of time between the two events are huge, so there is not a lot of opportunity for writer (performer) and reader (spectator) to share in that bonding and communing. When was the last time a writer went to a party and the guests asked if he or she brought a pen and urged him or her to write a paragraph for them? It doesn’t quite have the same effect as the cool kid of talent, strumming his guitar in the opposite corner.
However, the euphoria I feel when I complete a project, having put to paper the words that have been swirling around in my head for days, weeks, months or years is reward in itself. Bringing a creative vision to the point of completion is all I need. It is understood that the audience is not in front of me when I write and frankly, I am fine with that.
Also, once my work is out in the real world, a reader can take my work anywhere: on the morning commute, on a trip around the world, in a relaxing moment of respite or in seeking a few moments of escapism. So there is consolation in thinking that my words can be by someone’s side, when they need it most, plus they can read again and again without having to buy another ticket.
The best part is that as long as I have my marbles, I can write stories until my age is well into the three digits (fingers crossed!)
In my mild jealousy, maybe I overlooked the fact that in the grand scheme of things, being a word nerd is perhaps cool but for vastly different reasons and potentially the more reserved “geek chic” that keeps the after-party going, long after the music has stopped.
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Have a great day,