Webster defines talent as a special – often athletic, creative or artistic – aptitude. I certainly don’t have athletic talent. However, it might surprise you to know that I was on my high school intramural volleyball team. Okay, I know that doesn’t count, and you don’t even have to try out. But I did play volleyball. I even had fun. Mostly. (I’m not artistic either unless you count drawing stick figures.)
One thing I can do is write. I call it my gift.
It was in 9th-grade journalism class that I realized I might be a writer. Although my gift was foreshadowed in 2nd grade when I had a poem published in a state scholastic competition. My mom saved the saddle-stitched, (now dog-eared) paper-bound book, and I still have it around here somewhere. My winning entry went something like this:
I went to the store to get some bread,
While I was there, Mother tucked me in bed.
She held me tight,
She let me loose.
And now I feel the soft feather bed of Mother Goose.
Still is still as still can be,
But still, I’m sitting on the goose’s knee.
I can’t believe I can still remember that.
In high school, I was often in advanced English classes and loved literature. And even though I thought I had a gift for writing, I never considered using it to make a living. I really didn’t know you could.
It wasn’t until I found myself divorced and penniless at age 27 that I went to college and discovered a strong writing ability could be a career cornerstone. Initially, I decided on law school. I knew that lawyers write a lot – rumor is they get paid by the word – so writing and lawyering seemed a good match. Of course, you already know the end of this story: I graduated from Purdue with an English degree in professional writing, got married and never made it to law school.
Still, I’ve made a pretty good living as a corporate writer. I’m proud of many pieces I’ve written. Some have had tens of thousands of eyeballs. I frequently write for our top executives, and I’m known throughout the enterprise as the grammar queen. It’s gratifying, too, knowing I have a hand in crafting how our company talks about itself, our customers, our products, and our world.
And yet, I’ve never written that book. I know I could. I feel like I should. Maybe I will.