In a recent blog post, Patrick Ross pondered about talent – inborn perhaps – and skill, working on one’s craft. Why do we marvel at a person’s talent and not their developed skill? Ross wondered as he watched his daughter receive an arts award for the development of her craft. Surely it takes both talent and practice to make it in the highly competitive world, especially the arts, and doubtless great passion and commitment.

American Shakespeare CenterThis past weekend, Keith and I attended a performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Blackfriar’s Playhouse in Staunton. Following authentic Shakespearean conditions, several actors played more than one part, including exchanged gender – males playing females in Shakespeare’s time but in today’s staging often vice-versa – and many actors sang and played an assortment of instruments at the beginning and throughout the show. They danced, and one even jumped a one-handed cartwheel in the air. Imagine all the talents and abilities of the Blackfriar’s actors and the practice and energy – and youth.

I was reminded of my post about Generation Me, and the belief that if you try hard enough, you can be anything you want, anything you dream, the most common being acting, sports, music, and screenwriting, along with expectations about making lots of money. I dare say, the actors we saw yesterday were not financially rich, and if they stayed in this profession, probably never would become so. And for every performer on stage, there were likely turned away many times over that number of young people who had every bit as much desire but maybe less talent.

Keith and I talk about our new missions as writers, the constant work on craft – reading and writing, taking classes and learning about the changing market. Both of us had successful writing experience in our former professions but now work well outside those fields. Will we be able to compete with established professional writers with years’ long track records or young writers with years ahead of them to establish themselves? Unlikely, and it’s a good thing we don’t have to pay the bills with our earnings. Yet we mine our writing talent and develop our skill and practice our craft, Keith in Science Fiction and Short Stories and me in Creative Non-Fiction and Essays – what interests.

You won’t see us performing with the Blackfriar’s actors, but our work will be in print some day soon and maybe even win recognition. And hopefully the intersection of interest and talent will make enough to offset our writing expenses.

Where does your interest intersection with your talent?


  1. Keith Kenny

    Indeed we are setting the bar high … hoping for at least three figure salaries.

    • Carole Duff

      A nice dream, and some dreams come true:-)


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