Being good at many things

I just finished reading , “Sleeping with Schubert” by  Bonnie Marson, a fun story about a Brooklyn lawyer who suddenly finds that the spirit of Franz Schubert had taken up residence in her body, and overnight she can play the piano like he did. As I read it I thought, “This is the perfect summer read; light, fun, engaging”. I hadn’t heard of Bonnie Marson before and in the back of the book it said, “Bonnie Marson is an artist who has worked in many media–painting, drawing, photography, ceramics and mosaics…”

My first thought was, “Wow, she wrote a book, this good,  without being a writer from the time she was 10?!” I had always felt like it was a flaw of mine that I did not stick to one thing and “perfect” it (steadily work at it my entire life). There seems to be an unspoken rule that if you are good at something, you must do it forever, even if you don’t want to anymore, or if you have not found “it” (the one thing that you are supposed to be good at in this lifetime), then you have missed out on your life’s calling and it is your fault because you should have figured it out, and it has to be something that pays and has a clear career path (which leaves out, for most of us, cooking, gardening, shelter/rescue work, bird watching…etc.).

I am coming to believe that the spirit of creativity is very fluid, flexible and fun, and that it can move us into totally new areas of expression …if we allow it. I also love the idea that you can become really good at something, maybe even great, at any age…even if you have never done it before, and just maybe you can be really good at 2 or 3 or 4 things…the possibilites may be limitless to what we can do (and enjoy) if we are open and willing to be swept along!

Below is a bit of Bonnie’s story that I found on-line. She was being interviewed about her success and her journey.

 Tell us about a time when you were in fear about your creative career journey and you didn’t think it would go anywhere…

“I’ve made art all my life except for one little detour…

Divorced and needing a steady income, I took a job as PR director for a school district. This meant plenty of security, vacation time, and money, so I stayed nearly seven years. In other words, I’d been bought.

I wound up giving so much time and energy to work that there was nothing left for art. It all became clear to me during, of all things, a school board meeting. Deeply bored, I started thinking about art and realized I hadn’t painted or drawn anything in months. Okay, years. Then I calculated that I’d spent more than 200 nights at school board meetings. I quit the next day.

Did I have a survival plan? Vague notions at best. But, hey, attending 200 school-board meetings in one lifetime is more than anyone should endure. More important, I had let my art slide for far too long. If I hadn’t turned things around at that moment, I could still be lost in well-paid hell. I’ve never looked back”.

5 thoughts on “Being good at many things

  1. I whole heartedly agree with you Mary – it is true the spirit of creativity is as you describe – the key is: yourself available to it on a regular basis. I call it “showing up”. I spent my formative young adult years as a housecleaner – then later as an assistant to my husband in his cabinet making business with a wistful dream that some day I would illustrate flowers – and sell my art work. Needless to say, I was not happy with my life – and finally made the decision to make a 5 year plan to develop the illustrations and get it to the market place. Basically what I did was make myself “show up” at the drawing table for 2 hours every day. I didn’t even know what I was going to do, but I just made myself sit in that seat and began to follow my heart. I was extremely fortunate in that I had the wonderful support of my husband – who became a partner as well in the art and business! I was scared out of my wits, but I trusted the idea that if I took brave little baby steps every day – the way I needed to rearrange my life would eventually begin to feel familiar – which it certainly does today.

    Now in my early 50’s I am doing it again with music.

    There is something about the tuning into that place of creativity in myself that makes me feel that I am filled with riches – and what I have learned is what is possible is only possible if I show up. I rarely follow any rules – in fact, I am much happier if I make my own ones up!!!

  2. Thanks Mary for the Summer Reading suggestion. I am a member of the Battenkill Books Book Club hosted by Connie Brooks. All you have to do to become a member is show up on the first Thurs. of each month at 6:30 PM.
    It has been a very good experience; however, several of the books have been serious reading with some very painful parts to visualize and store in my imagination. I need something on the lighter side this summer.

    To Lynne Bittner – I have a Main Street news article about a Centarian named
    Erma Kubitz, dated July 5, 2006 – the article is on my bulletin board. I found it & saved it the summer of 2006, my retirement year, from my full time teaching position which kept me in the hot, boring state of Florida for over 30 years! I do not regret my teaching years because I did some very creative things with my high school students and I bet there are a few artists, photographers, & writers, all grown up with families of their own who fondly remember “The Ancestors Stories” that they wrote for my classes and the old family photos they found to accompany them. But, I thank you, Lynne, for Erma’s story & your own – both very inspiring. Mary Rita Scott

  3. I don’t feel like a terribly creative person, but maybe that’s because I am putting creativity in a box with being artistic in some way, which I am not. So, I am inspired by those who share their creative talents here and on the websites I have visited through this blog and to all of us still searching for our creative spark, happy self discovering!

  4. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for this message. Makes me want to spread my wings and venture out from my safe, but rather dull world.

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