Header image courtesy of Verne Ho via StockSnap
We’ve joined the monthly link-up series hosted by Victoria McGinley and Meg Biram of Shop the B Bar. Linkups are a great way to get to know people outside their traditional writing routine, so Natalie and I are using this as an opportunity to introduce ourselves with this week’s question:
What are your hidden talents?
My hidden talent is that I can play the drums. And while I’d like to say that I was one of the cool girls who listened to rock music and knew the classics off by heart and wore ripped denim and had facial piercings, I totally wasn’t.
I remember taking my stiletto shoes off before a concert one night and tying my hair in a ponytail; wondering midway through the session if my black leotard would get stuck on the bass drum.
But, despite my prim posture and poor choice in footwear, I was pretty good. I played drums for a jazz band, rock band, and a marching band. And I loved it. And I was pretty good.
A skill that I’ve come to appreciate and refine over the years, I have my three younger sisters to thank. When we were kids we’d spend hours playing dress up and my siblings and the kids my mom babysat would all look up to me to lead games, tell stories, and take them on adventures -all within the small square footage of our backyard in Regina, Saskatchewan.
At seven years old my imagination ran rampant: we were mountain girls scaling peaks in the Rockies (climbing over the fridge/freezer stored in the garage); runaways on our speedy motorcycle (perched on my dad’s stationary bike); jungle women foraging in the rainforest (thrashing through my mom’s garden).
I wrote plays, conducted ‘school sessions’, taught swimming lessons, and hosted horrible food eating competitions. I bossed and busied myself with planning epic adventures for my sisters, and until recently, I had no idea how much this period in my life contributed to who I am now.
My ambition, creativity, desire to inspire, lead others, and develop community stems from my time spent developing relationships with the babysitting kids and my sisters. What I used to see as bossy, I now see as a willingness to lead. What I used to see as messy (the small children running around in war-paint), I now see as a desire to create, explore, and challenge myself to work within the confines of what I have – but make it memorable.
Listing talents—even fun, hidden ones, or proven, hard-earned ones—feels somewhat uncomfortable. It’s like selling yourself in an interview: saying “I’m proficient, and you should listen to me” demands a certain buttressing of the backbone, some cementing of your confidence. Self-assured as I am in many respects, I always pause before laying claim to my competencies.
Still, I love a challenge, and truth be told, I adore an excuse to brag.
My secret talent, since back when I was a wee clown of a tot, is eyebrow-wiggling. The Cadbury commercial featuring children doing a brow jig is a solid approximation of the low-brow comedy I’ve performed for years.
Honestly, this talent is on par with being double-jointed: I haven’t had to work at it. My face likely stumbled into it mid-twitch. But it’s come in handy a few times in my life. When someone’s sad, a quick wiggle is sometimes enough to get them laughing again. I haven’t won talent shows, but I like to envision using it as an icebreaker at a party one day. It’s a talent for putting myself and my freak-ish ability out there, for the world to enjoy or back away slowly.
The talent that’s actually been useful in work and school is the ability to write. I’m no J.D. Salinger, and I won’t be writing the Great Canadian novel any time soon. I’m constantly striving to emulate the talent of those I admire (e.g. Sharon Miki, Jacey Gibb, Cody Klyne, Stephanie Trembath, and countless others); but that self-deprecation emerges from my passion for quality writing, and the fact that I know, once in a while, I write something that’s damn good.
My childhood is a blur of books. Hours spent reading, until my mom would trudge to my room and tell me to sleep, or even later, until my dad would get up for work in the early hours of the morning. I had no self-control. Books were my chocolate, rich with devastatingly well-written sentences that I’d read several times over to truly appreciate.
I don’t write well strictly because of this indulgence, but I like to think my passion for the written word melded nicely with years writing and editing at The Other Press newspaper. Critically looking at other people’s writing has made me better at editing my own. Being surrounded by the talents of others has made me excited to work on my own craft. I will always be developing my voice, but constructing a meaningful sentence—maybe even one that others read a few times over to truly appreciate—is a beautiful feeling.
All of the bloggers who participated in the July blog linkup:
Alyssa J Freitas
The Not Quite Adult
Equal Parts of a Whole
soak and simmer
Emilie Lima Burke
Ember & March
Feathers and Stripes
All The Pretty Stars
Perfect Enough For Us
Mrs. on the Move
The Toppy Top
Mint Julep Girl
A Minimalist Blog
Beauty and the Pitch