the one where I say something nobody agrees with

*Ahem* Perhaps again?

Let me get this over with: I don’t believe in talent.

No, seriously, I do not believe in talent. I do not think it exists. It is firmly in my head that it is a fallacy, a faerie tale told to explain away something we cannot easily understand. I have tried to explain this to people, only to have them look at me as if I had denied the existence of the ground.

But, I’m telling you, the existence of an inborn trait that helps some to succeed and cause others to remain fruitless, is absurd. I have talked with my wife, with my friends, with coworkers. All of them tell me I am wrong. But I think I am right.

I’ve heard a lot of arguments for, and I only have one against, but it comes from inside my own head.

When I was younger I did not have ‘It’. Friends who have known me since I was a short, fat, proto-emo teenager… and have read (they were forced to read) the stories I wrote. I will tell you this: My friends growing up were painfully honest, and let me know -in no uncertain terms- to not quit my day job, even if I we

re homeless. A few years ago there were professionals in the writing industry that told me working for minimum wage would be a better use of my time. Whatever ‘It’ is, I did not have ‘It’.

Now on the far side of four novels, over a dozen shorts in print and so on, I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I have ‘It’, whatever ‘It’ is. Often ‘It’ is referred to as ‘Talent’. Sure, fine, I appreciate it, but if it is inborn, then while my stories of yesteryear may have been badly written, should they not have been compelling? Like listening to the piano chatter of a talented virtuoso, shouldn’t it be obvious that they have ‘It’ from even that point? If it is inborn, I could not have developed it.

No, I got here because of hard work. Anyone else could do the same. I’m happy to help anyone do it, and more. That being said, I am getting ready for Balticon, packing today and driving tomorrow. Hope to see lots of friends and fans there.

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One thought on “the one where I say something nobody agrees with

  1. I’m going to phrase this carefully as to try to avoid sounding like I’m pointing to anyone in particular. I disagree with your statement on talent not existing. It does exist, it’s simply far more rare than people like to admit.

    Prove it you say? OK, what about Kim Peek (aka Rain Man)? There are people that can do things almost no other human can do and they’re not things you can train for in any way. I call that a talent.

    As for writing and story telling? I think there are far too many that like their own work too much and far too many folks that toss around “genius” and other terms far too freely. Writing and story telling are skills that can be honed and developed over time. You sir have some excellent stories. Skill, talent, “it” or whatever you prefer to call it, just keep writing!

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