Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

writing-talent v tenacity February 16, 2019

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:50 pm
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When I’m speaking to new writers, whether they be young or old, I spend time discussing the difference between talent and tenacity.

When you start, you may be discouraged because you see others with greater talent than you, but if you have tenacity, your dedication will develop talent, your resilience will keep you practising, your perseverence at pushing on doors will get you opportunities.  The most talented person who just holes up in a burrow will stagnate if they don’t work with what they’ve got.  So if you WANT it, you need to be tenacious, and eventually, your tenacity will develop your talent, and you will achieve your goals.

So much success in life relies on simply not giving up.

Caitriona Balfe, the actor who plays Claire Randall in Outlander, said some similar regarding making it as an actor, in a recent interview for The Irish Times,

a lot of it is just having the f***ing balls and grit to stick around and be persistent in the face of a lot of rejection. But I think that also comes from having a belief that if [there is] something you love to do so much, something that feels that it comes naturally, that in some way it has to be what you’re meant to do.

That’s it.  As Dory puts it, “Just keep swimming.”

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poem-earnest November 28, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:41 pm
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She’s earnest

in all the best ways.

Plasters on that quivering smile

faces the crowd

does her best,

but her best

is not good enough.

Earnestness is not enough.

But I tried!

is not enough.

She needs to be committed

to earnest effort

toward excellence,

maybe for years,

and maybe even then

her earnest desire will not

be enough.

Desire must lead to skill

mingle with effort

sprinkle with luck

and maybe then

earnest will be

enough.

 

bad talents (Part1) July 12, 2010

Ever since I started a blog, people have been asking if I was going to tell stories about OJ.  So far I’ve managed to avoid it, but I was asked again yesterday, so I guess it’s time.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the internet, I would like to introduce you to  Kimelle’s Optimum Jive, my very talented standard poodle.

Now before I tell you the stories, promise me that you won’t lecture me on what a bad poodle parent I am, okay?  I know that if I was a responsible dog trainer, OJ would never do any of these things.  But he came to us as a two year old, already well set in his ways, and because he’s a brilliant, charming, manipulative poodle, we have been unable to break his bad habits over the last eight years.  We have a grudging admiration for him, to be honest.  This may not be a talent we wish he possessed, but we have to be impressed at how very skilled he is.

In the canine intelligence studies, only one breed is smarter than the poodle.  It’s the border collie.  If you know border collies, you know that they are intense, dedicated to their task and motivated to succeed.  They affix their famous stare at sheep, children, or cattle and they follow whistles, hand signals or calls without deviating from their orders.  They are amazing to watch on an agility course as they obey faultlessly and repeatedly.  This is not the way poodles operate.  Poodles will learn every task they are given in moments, but then they take it upon themselves to figure out another way, and good luck trying to get them to do it your boring way!  If you do manage to convince them to do the task your way more than a couple times, watch out.  They will look for a new and more interesting way to do it before long, when it is most inconvenient for you.  They are inclined to show you that there is always another, better, more entertaining way to do something.  They are adept at figuring out their own agendas, and doing whatever they need to do to achieve their own goals.

OJ’s goal is to fill his belly.  (He has tried to convince us that his goal is to keep our kitchen clean, but we are not fooled).  His talent is counter-surfing.  This talent requires stealth, balance, and ingenuity.  OJ excels at each element.  As a demonstration of his stealth, I offer this: around my house it is unwise to leave coffee, hot chocolate or chocolate milk on a coffee table.  While you are distracted, talking to someone beside you on the couch, for example, OJ will casually walk by, tilt ever so slightly, and take a slurp out of your cup.  He doesn’t care if the coffee is black or double double, however, he prefers cafe mocha, and he adores hot chocolate.   If you are so foolish as to walk into the kitchen and leave your  full cup completely unattended, you are likely to return to find a circle of cocoa spray on the table and an empty cup.   If your cup was less than half full, you will just find an empty cup, and a confused contemplation about whether you really did finish it or not.  OJ will be lying innocently on the couch, as if he never left it.  If you wish to avoid sharing your beverage when visiting at my house, I suggest you have tea.  OJ does not seem to care for tea.

As I typed this blog, OJ was yelled at to get off the counters 5 times.  I intercepted him once with an ice cream lid he’d just taken out of the sink, and once sneaking down the hallway with a spatula in his mouth.

Apparently he requires some attention, so I will continue with his adventures in another blog post.

 

 
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