Saturday, November 13, 2010

What this “talent” thing is all about

Let’s take a guy who is really good at wood-work. It could be anything, really, cooking, music, being able to sexually satisfy a woman, but let’s say wood-work. He has what people call a “talent”,which is a word that is like the word “magic”. It’s what people use as a label for that which they do not understand. This “talent” is not, and should not be mysterious at all. To be the genius, skilled wood-worker that he is he needs to have first of all, a desire to make something with wood. That’s it. That’s the primary ingredient in “talent”, the simple need for a table, or a chair, or a dildo for his wife since he lost his penis in the war.

Whatever it is, he wants that thing to come into existence, from a tree. He doesn’t like the idea, he doesn’t want to be considered the Michelangelo of wood, he just wants this thing to exist and it does not, therefore he is obligated to make it. So he tries, and thing he creates doesn’t satisfy him, and he tries to refine it and it’s still not right, he checks out furniture every chance he can, makes a note of the stuff that looks right. He asks questions, stays awake at night thinking about it. He goes back to the drawing-board and he tries some more. The desire just won’t go away.

Eventually, over years of trying, his skills get refined. He becomes a master of the jigsaw and router and whatever else wood-workers use. He knows what methods will work and what won’t work. Then one day he makes a chair that is comfortable. He makes a table with a level surface, he makes a splinter-free phallic object. Not only has he mastered the processes that go into creating that chair, he has found that he can do it again, maybe play with the form a little bit to make it more aesthetically pleasing, more comfortable. He has a set of skills that allow him to do whatever he wants with the material he has chosen to work with.
Most people who set out to do anything don’t want a chair. They don’t realize that that’s where it starts, with a desire for something. They want the money that comes from selling chairs, they want the respect that the master-craftsmen get, they want to be able to talk about chairs and tables and maple-wood sex-toys, but not to make one. Not really. So you get critics and "experts" and teachers, who always outnumber the people who make the product. There are a million music bloggers who own guitars and only a handful of guys who can play a guitar like Brian May, a million web-cam models, but only one Belladonna.

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