-a post by Jeanna Mason Stay
|Image from IMDB.com|
One of my guilty pleasures is occasionally watching those singing talent shows—you know, American Idol, The Voice. There’s something appealing about this idea of being suddenly “discovered” and having the ultimate in exposure opportunities. I’m sure it’s appealing partially because, of course, that is many an author’s dream too. You work so hard, so hard, and then suddenly POW! you are discovered, mentored by the big wigs, and suddenly someone wants to publish you and sell your books in an international arena.
I’ve often thought it’s a crying shame that writing doesn’t exactly lend itself to reality talent shows. Imagine, for a moment, that you get on stage and . . . type for five hours. The audience is hushed, the tension fills the room. And then you read it out loud! Ooh, aah. Judges stand and applaud. The crowd goes wild. Um, no.
This week, my ward is hosting a talent show. We’re going to have the usual performances—singing, musical instruments, whatnot.* But we’ll also have displays of various other talents, like sewing and jewelry making and painting and . . . wait for it . . . writing! And the proverbial icing on the cake: refreshments provided by talented cooks in the ward (win!). So I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and finally I can show off a talent! (Why do I feel this need to show off? I don’t particularly, but I still think it will be fun. Plus, occasionally, don’t we all like a little external validation?)
Then I started thinking about other talents that still don’t show up well, even in a talent show as nifty as this one is going to be. Take my hubby, for instance. He is an epic spreadsheet producer. Seriously, he crunches numbers like . . . like . . . PacMan?****** I don’t know, like something that crunches really well. And he turns them into pretty spreadsheets. Ah, it makes my heart flutter with adoration. He is also amazing when it comes to children. We can go to a park or to church, and kids just come to him. Because he is fun and playful and makes them feel loved and important and just plain good. That, my friends, is a talent.
I have not, however, suggested that he stand up on stage and play with children, because that would just be . . . weird.
So it turns out there are still plenty of amazing talents in the world that are simply never going to make it into a show. I feel like this is probably good to remember when we get lessons in Relief Society about magnifying our talents. It’s not just piano lessons and sewing machines, ladies. If you have the visual creativity of a 2x4, you’ve still got talents.
In the end, I suppose (even though I’m still waiting for that awesome writer reality show), what matters more than being able to show off your talents is putting them to good use.
* I wish I had gotten good at contact juggling—because, come on, who doesn’t want to see contact juggling at a ward talent show? But that would have required more practice than I ever put in (and yes, I actually did practice for a while). So, alas, I have no skill at it.**
** If you don’t know what contact juggling is, think David Bowie in Labyrinth. (Although I’ve just learned it wasn’t really David Bowie doing it; it was this other cool dude. Sigh. Childhood illusions shattered. However, now made up for by having totally geeked out watching said other cool dude on youtube.)***
*** If you haven’t seen Labyrinth, shame on you.****
**** Just kidding.*****
***** Mostly.****** When I informed the hubby that I was comparing him to PacMan, he said: 1. “Because I am constantly eating cereal?” 2. “Because I am round and pasty?” 3. “Because I have a love/hate relationship with the undead?” Boy, he is a terrible guesser.