Remember the parable about the talents? I have never understood why people let some of their greatest gifts go. A few years ago I came across a sketch pad from a college art class my mother had taken when she was a young woman. Some of the portraits were astounding; I could not believe someone I knew could draw like that. My mom had always been the artistic one we went to went we needed something drawn up or painted, but the magnificence of the figures in her old college workbook are beyond compare.
When I asked her about it, she looked fondly at her old work but shrugged it off. She had gotten too distracted with her life; working, raising children--just living. What a shame, most people would say, but I say, what a darn, crying, ridiculous shame. Like the old man on the guitar who just plays for himself or the closet poet who keeps his notebook under the mattress, people who are afraid to step out into the light don’t realize how much of life they aren’t living.
Yes, criticism is hard, and life is never-endingly busy, but we were created to create, to use our imaginations, to invent.
As a writer, I have had peaks and valleys throughout my life when it comes to my own work. My first teachers recognized my talent, and later on other instructors and my family encouraged it. Looking back, I can see that every time I gave up or burned out, I lost momentum. There was a learning curve I had to re-adjust to when I began again. Those absences may have taught me lessons but they were painful ones, and who knows what stories or poems (and progress!) were lost during those times I laid down my pencil.
I have been back in the saddle for 3 years now. My product and my passion are better than they have ever been. I still have a lot to learn but I have moved forward in my career by leaps and bounds. Thank goodness, for second chances, and thirds, and fourths…
Use your talents wisely. You know what you can do and do well. Don’t let them go to waste.