Saturday, December 13, 2014

                                                   A BLESSING and a CURSE

     People tell me frequently how amazed they are at my talent. I am always very flattered, but being “somewhat” talented is not always easy. I have many talents that God has generously bestowed on me, and for that I am grateful. The issue; however, is that none of these talents provide a living or offer me fame or a spot on a talk show. They are blessings that I am apparently to use either for my own enjoyment or to share with others. Being very modest about my capabilities, I am happy to perform when asked, but people rarely ask, as they don’t want to put me on the spot. Well, where is that spot? and how will they know if I want to be put there if they never ask?

     I am a writer, a pianist, a public speaker, a poet, an actress and a perfectionist. I list the latter because I am really really good at that one. Perfectionism is certainly not a talent; it’s a disease. This disease is part of the reason that the above talents remain hidden from most of the world, and the reason for this discussion.

     I am not trying to be one of those fake modest people who says, “Oh, no, that’s not true” just to get attention. I want the attention, and I’m not afraid to admit it (at least on this paper). The issue is getting it without asking for it, and promoting myself without being bold, presumptive and egotistical. 

     This topic has surfaced as a result of my talent as a “dilettante” pianist. My tyrannical piano teacher told me at age 16 that if I wasn’t willing to sacrifice most of everything I valued in life to practice at least 6-8 hours a day in a practice room then I was destined to be a “dilettante.” That is a person who has talent but doesn’t want to work at it, so they just do their thing half-assed. All right, I admit it. I am a dilettante. Just give me the 12-step program on how to enjoy my label, and I’ll shut up.

     The current issue is that I have targeted ten pieces I would love to be able to play such as Adinsell’s Warsaw Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G. Can I play the notes? Of course. Can I play them technically accurately? Nope. Can I get the nuance correct? Yes. Can I use the correct fingering? Yes. Can I play them for anyone? No. The pieces have to be played like Rubinstein or Lang Lang would perform them. That ain’t ever going to happen. So where does that leave little ole moi? Frustrated and confused.
If friends and family don’t ask to hear me play, and if I will never be concert stage material, do I just learn them and take a nap? I usually learn them and then perform them at a professional recording studio so I have proof of my long hours at the keyboard. Who hears the disc? No one. Who even knows I have discs? No one. Who cares? No one, but me. If I were 30 or 40, the answer would be simple: decide if I want to pursue this talent and do something with it. At age 70+, it’s a bit late, I fear.