11 October 2011

I've Got Talent

I have come face to face with a lot of important things during the last week, and I will explore some of them in forthcoming posts as I process them but the first issue I want to address is an almost entirely positive one so it seems a nice place to start.  In a fit of irony (as will soon become apparent), I can think of no nuanced way to articulate this specific learned lesson so I place trust in you, dear reader, that you will know that none of what follows is evidence of arrogance on my part.

I have forgotten--or at least, stopped believing in--my own talents and aptitudes.  I suppose part of it has been the skewed perceptions created by the depression I've been fighting this past year, but another part of it, I think, is that my inner circle is comprised of people who are my peers in those aspects.  That is to say, there's not much about me that seems particularly extraordinary among a group of similarly talented people.

My talents consist of critical thinking, writing and speaking articulately and having an above-average intuition for how to reach and help other people.  Those seem like nothing special to me, but recently I spent some time in the company of a group of people who do not share my talents.  This is not to say that I find myself superior to any of them; I certainly do not.  They possess other skills that I lack and my articulate writing won't fix a busted pipe, repair a roof or rebuild a car engine so believe me when I say that what I am expressing is not about thinking I'm better than anyone else.  It's just that I can do those things and not everyone else can.  (Also, I'm a fairly funny guy and I forget that not everyone actually is funny.)

If you glean but one thing from this post, it should be this: you're entitled to feel good about what you do well without having to fear others will take it to mean that you think yourself better than them.  It isn't about being superior; it's about recognizing what you have to offer, and taking pride in that.  I've always been terrified of coming across as self-important to the point that my self-deprecating humor has devolved into self-sabotage.  Don't make that mistake.  (Unless, that is, your talents are the same as mine, in which case go find something else to do.)

Am I a woefully overlooked talent that is one lucky break away from the New York Times best-seller list?  Probably not.  But I have the ability to use my skills to reach and help other people and that has value; it means something.  It's been a long while since I believed in my ability to do that, but I've renewed that self-confidence.  Nearly everything that is written or said is merely a variation on a theme, but we keep churning out new variants because there are always outliers who haven't been reached by all the other variants yet.  I intend to try to reach those outliers and be helpful.

I will take the initiative as I find the opportunity and inspiration, but you can help me, dear reader.  You can do this by responding to posts that you read that resonate with you; maybe you find something valuable or entertaining, or maybe you think I'm entirely off-base and need a course correction on a subject.  I consider all the feedback I receive.  Also, if there is a specific topic or sub-topic you would like to see discussed here, I'm open to suggestions.  So let me know if there's some way in which you think I can help you to explore a given topic or theme.

Outside of this, I intend to commit myself to writing at least one short story per month to submit for publication consideration.  I have already submitted one story and have made strong headway on a second; whether either will actually be selected of course, I have no way of knowing.  But I figure that if I throw enough stuff on the wall, something is bound to stick.  Hopefully, I can sell some stuff and actually make some coin doing what I do well--or at least, better than some.  That would be particularly satisfying.  And satisfaction, friends, is the name of the game.


  1. You bring up some good points that it's well worth to keep in mind. In particular, realizing what you're comparing yourself to in a narrow field of like-minded individuals. When one spends a lot of time talking movies with fellow movie-nuts, for instance, it's easy for me to fall into thinking that I don't really know jack on the subject. When in fact I probably do. It's all relative.


    "you're entitled to feel good about what you do well without having to fear others will take it to mean that you think yourself better than them. It isn't about being superior; it's about recognizing what you have to offer, and taking pride in that."

    Key sentences right there. This is a valuable post you've written, Travis.

  2. Thanks, Emil. Since posting this, I've already written and e-published a short story and just yesterday I finished the first draft of a comic book I'm making in collaboration with a friend of mine. I didn't have the self-confidence to try either of those projects a few weeks ago and you know what? It feels good.

    Of course, what has been much more satisfying has been the feedback I've had about my blog posts about depression and getting help for it. I've heard some very touching stories and I have been very humbled by what people have shared with me, and said about my writings.

    Incidentally, your debut blog post for Flickchart was terrific (which I've already told you) and I hope that you continue contributing to it, as well as maintaining your own blog. You clearly do know--and care--about movies. Keep it up.