Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm not much of a chit-chatter. I'm a get-to-the-point kind of gal. In fact--and this is an embarrassing confession--if you don't get to your point pretty quickly, my brain has left the building.

I tell you this so you'll understand the conversation I had yesterday with a friend who has known me since second grade. She pointed to her copy of my novel, A Higher Voice, and asked, "How did you (of all people, she implied) write a novel this long?"

I just shrugged and answered, "I can't explain it."

Which brings me to my definition of talent.

Years ago, my husband hand-carved a couple of carousel horses, and we had one for sale in my gift shop. Customers would come in and rub their hands over the fine contours of the sculpture, exclaim over the beauty of the horse, and invariably ask, "How long did it take him to carve it?"

I never gave anyone a straight answer to that question. In all likelihood, if I had answered truthfully, then they would have complained that the price was way too high.

Because the truth was, it was shocking how little time it took him to carve it. And you can't put a price on talent, right?

Now that I have a novel in print, people, naturally curious, ask how long it took me to write it. I side-step the question. My friend, Gay, knows exactly how long it took me to write that first very rough draft, and that shall remain our little secret. The better question, I tell readers, is--How long did it take me to re-write it? So far, folks just stare at me. I can see the wheels turning in their heads.

Just last week at our church's monthly free meal for our community, Carolyn said the secret to the delicious chicken salad was that she used four quarts of her homemade pickles. I just stared at her and finally said, "I've never even made four quarts of pickles, let alone given them away!" To which her sister quipped, "And I've never written a novel." So there you go.

My definition of talent is this:  If there's something that you do, that you can't explain how you do it, and possibly it would shock people to know how quickly you can do it, then that may be your talent.

My talent is not making pickles. Nor is it hand-carving a wooden carousel horse. Nor is it chit-chatting, for that matter.

I know people with immense talent for encouraging others. For hand-writing notes. For humor. For listening. For gardening. For fixing things. For fixing people. For teaching. For carrying on the face of adversity.

And every single one of those talents is every bit as important as writing a novel. Probably even more so.

So what is your talent? I guarantee you have at least one. Celebrate that today. Better yet, use your talent!

Have a lovely, productive week, whatever your endeavors, friends!


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