The Price of Talent

“Everyone has a talent; what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”

–Erica Jong

Tell me about one of your talents and the pleasure and pain it has brought you. Be sure to include both.

7 thoughts on “The Price of Talent”

  1. One of my talents and the pleasure and pain it has brought me. I would have to say is being able to play music on a quiet afternoon to rejuvenate my mind, soul and spirit; albeit through the musical notations as I have no ability to play by ear. I also hear that music can do a lot for our physical being as well; which I hope is true. I have just enough musical finesse to bring pleasure to the heart but not enough to become a music teacher and pass that love on to others as I find out in my brief music education adventure when I had to take melodic dictation; which was a disaster. It was definitely an eye opening experience

  2. C hina Galland

    Day 38 of ? after? my husband Corey Fischer’s death on June 7th, 2020. Five years is a more accurate in terms of how long it feels like it’s been since he died. I thought of myself as so independent, traveling alone including venturing overseas to Brazil, Argentina, India, Nepal, Switzerland, France, and Poland (when the Communists controlled it in the 1980’s). At one point I helped found and run Women in the Wilderness, and ran 200+ miles of the Grand Canyon, I feel like a stranger in my own life. Who was this person?
    China Galland

    1. Dear China, Welcome to the Writer’s Journey Roadmap. Your question, “Who was this person?” sounds like a critical one for you to ponder. Especially now in this time of being stuck where we are, we world travelers have the kind of time to ponder such questions. Who was the woman who did all that? Who are you now?

  3. “I think you ARE crazy, Mother!”

    I was thankful to have been able to jump behind the counter before the eight-inch cast iron frying pan she had heaved from eight feet away hit me on the knee caps.

    It had started out a normal afternoon. I came home from school, changed clothes and put on an apron, ready to wash the pile of dishes that had accumulated through out the day. I could tell what the family at home had for breakfast and lunch from the evidence on the counter.

    Mother loved cooking and often whistled while she worked, practicing the
    “huey-chirps” and luppy-lups” that she liked to decorate the art songs she frequently performed at church gatherings. When she lived in West Los Angeles in the 30’s she had taken whistling lessons from a woman who taught the sound effects whistlers for Walt Disney studios and she loved to practice. It was always a sweet and contented sound.

    Earlier I had passed by our house, which was only two blocks away from the Junior High School, with my friends and gone downtown to the teen hang out for a hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream and peanuts.

    My friends really liked my mother and she liked them. Sometimes if I thought she might be upset for some reason I took a friend home with me to create a buffer and get her into a good mood. I knew I hadn’t stayed too long over my ice cream so I didn’t need a friend along!

    That day she was worried about a friend, another minister’s wife, who had had a nervous break down. She asked what my friends thought about her. Mother was fun loving, spontaneous, laughed easily, told great jokes. My friends loved it and loved her. Summing it all up I made the mistake of saying, “They think you’re crazy!” as in… “Oh you crazy kid!”

    That’s when the frying pan came flying in my direction. I tried to explain, but she would have none of it! Neither of us apologized. I think we each thought we were the one who deserved an apology!

    I bent down and picked up the pan and went about the process of cleaning up so we would be able to eat dinner at the kitchen table.

    When I was finished I still felt the shock and anger of our argument. I went to the living room and sat down at the piano and played “Rustles of Spring” as loud and fast as I could. Then I leafed through “59 Piano Solos you Like to Play” and selected some of the more rambunctious pieces like Chopin’s “Polonaise”. I worked my way through “Anitra’s Dance” and “Minuet in G”, until when I got to the end of the book I was ready for Tchaikovsky’s, Andante Cantabile” Some times I continued to play from other books enjoying the rich harmonies in a book of Gershwin arrangements, Gilbert and Sullivan, Boogie Woogie or popular songs of the day. The piano had done its trick. I was peaceful and all was right with the world.
    *************
    The next day Dad took me aside and told me that Mother had told him about the scene the day before. He wanted to know if I had really said I thought Mother was crazy. I admitted I had, but I had not meant it the way she took it. He proceeded to tell my about how worried she was about her friend, Donna, and that she might be the next one to “go”.

    “ I don’t ever want to hear of you saying you think your mother is crazy again!”

    “Oh, did she tell you she threw a frying pan at me?’

    Dad’s face paled and his lip twitched, as it often did when he was amused or processing something. Well, No. She didn’t”, he admitted. That does change things but I still don’t want to hear of you calling her crazy!”

    **************
    I don’t really ever remember a talent leading me to the dark place that Erica Jong talks about. My talent with the piano help me through many a dark place to feel calm and centered again. There were many times I found solace in the piano.

  4. I think you ARE crazy, Mother!

    I was thankful to have been able to jump behind the counter before the eight-inch cast iron frying pan she had heaved from 8 feet away hit me on the knee caps.

    It had started out a normal afternoon. I came home from school, changed clothes and put on an apron, ready to wash the pile of dishes that had accumulated through out the day. I could tell what the family at home had for breakfast and lunch from the evidence on the counter.

    Mother loved cooking and often whistled while she worked, practicing the
    “huey-chirps” and luppy-lups” that she liked to decorate the art songs she frequently performed at church gatherings. When she lived in West Los Angeles in the 30’s she had taken whistling lessons from a woman who taught the sound effects whistlers for Walt Disney studios and she loved to practice. It was always a sweet and contented sound.

    Earlier I had passed by our house, which was only two blocks away from the Junior High School, with my friends and gone downtown to the teen hang out for a hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream and peanuts.

    My friends really liked my mother and she liked them. Sometimes if I thought she might be upset for some reason I took a friend home with me to create a buffer and get her into a good mood. I knew I hadn’t stayed too long over my ice cream so I didn’t need a friend along!

    That day she was worried about a friend, another minister’s wife, who had had a nervous break down. She asked what my friends thought about her. Mother was fun loving, spontaneous, laughed easily, told great jokes. My friends loved it and loved her. Summing it all up I made the mistake of saying, “They think you’re crazy!” as in… “Oh you crazy kid!”

    That’s when the frying pan came flying in my direction. I tried to explain, but she would have none of it! Neither of us apologized. I think we each thought we were the one who deserved an apology!

    I bent down and picked up the pan and went about the process of cleaning up so we would be able to eat dinner at the kitchen table.

    When I was finished I still felt the shock and anger of our argument. I went to the living room and sat down at the piano and played “Rustles of Spring” as loud and fast as I could. Then I leafed through the book and selected some of the more rambunctious pieces like Chopin’s “Polonaise”. I worked my way through “Anitra’s Dance” and “Minuet in G”, until when I got to the end of the book I was ready for Tchaikovsky’s Some time I continued to play from other books enjoying The rich harmoies in a book of Gershwin arrangements, Gilbert and Sullivan, Boogie Woogie or popular songs of the day. The piano had done its trick. I was peaceful and all was right with the world.
    *************
    The next day Dad took my aside and told me that Mother had told him about the scene the day before. He wanted to know if I had really said I thought Mother was crazy. I admitted I had, but I had not meant it the way she took it. He proceeded to tell my about how worried she was about her friend Donna and that she might be the next one to “go”.

    “ I don’t ever want to hear of you saying you think your mother is crazy again!”

    “Oh, did she tell you she threw a frying pan at me?’

    Dad’s face paled and his lip twitched, as it often did when he was amused or processing something. Well, No. She didn’t”, he admitted. That does change things but I still don’t want to hear of you calling her crazy!”

    **************
    I don’t really ever remember a talent leading me to the dark place that Erica Jong talks about. My talent with the piano help me through many a dark place to feel calm and centered again. There were many times I found solace in the piano.

    1. Sorry this got posted twice! Please delete this copy. Thank you!

      Also…what happened to the box to check to be notified of responses to this prompt?

  5. sandra chamberlain

    My first love was of Nature. As a child, I had a lot of room
    to roam in because I was fortunate to have a grandmother wh
    had multiple properties from cabins on a lake (in a 100,000
    acre preserve) to an old house in the country to a penthouse
    in Manhattan with a large terraces garden.

    But my second love and talent was in writing. I spent a lot
    of time in Nature alone but writing was my main solo activity.
    To write was to be a companion to myself as well as to describe the events and feelings that I had at the time. To
    pick up the pen was comforting to me. It was like taking a
    picture (which I also liked to do) of the scene around me. Or,
    perhaps describing an event or person that I had experienced
    before. Or a response to a movie-any and all minutiae around
    me.

    Writing down my thoughts could be very painful when I en-
    countered painful thoughts and events. I found my efforts to
    at times be quite superficial reflecting my inability to make
    sense of things. Or, I would feel apathetic and so very little
    would get recorded. Which of. course made me feel worthless
    as a human being, much less a writer.

    This prompt is valuable to me for I have to come to grips with
    my lack of motivation in my Pandemic life. Which is somewhat understandable considering the conditions we all
    live under. Ah, ha, by just writing this, I feel better. The French
    philosopher, Lacun was right: we write to learn.

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