What is it With Gifts

I figure this is as good a time as any to talk about gifts. Not the kind that haunt your credit card statement and are covered in shiny paper and ribbons. Instead I’m talking about talent and what appears to world as a gift.

My first year of college, when I was in the music school, a great debate a group of us students had was on the nature of talent. Does talent exist? Is the only gift the desire to improve and forward one’s ability?

I have always been a story teller. Even as I kid, I remember loving to make people laugh with the stories I made up or pieced together. I’ve spent hours reading about literature and writing and still more hours pounding out story after story. After all that do I consider myself talented? I’m driven. I have experience. Do I have talent? Do I have a gift? What I do have is ten boxes each with a completed novel in it, and drawers of short stories.

The concept of talent lies in our inability to quantify the nature of ability. Practice makes perfect, so we are told. Did the chicken, our desire to want to work and improve come first, or was it the egg, our end result that shows the effort put into it. Obviously no one wants to spend time doing something that they are not good at nor interested in. Maybe, after all this, interest is the gift. Then again if I walk up to an artist in a gallery and say, “that painting sure looks like you were interested in it,” doesn’t seem like a complement.

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