Thursday, March 19, 2009

my way with words isn't mine.

I tend to think of my ability with words as something that just came about naturally, but that's far from the case. The way my parent's used language around me while I was growing up and the way that my dad thought about writing all influenced how I use language. I used to write essays for my dad on various topics. It was fun, but important, and I know that that improved my writing style. So while I have a way with words, it's not because I have some natural ability. I have a way with words because of the training I had. That's useful to know.

What I tend to think of as natural ability is more a product of being raised on writing, and reading, and language. It's nicely sobering to remember that what I've got comes from practice and training rather than just a way with words.

I don't know exactly what brought that on, but It seems important. There's an intersection between natural ability and environment that's vital to the development of a skill or talent. Same goes for music and other things. The music is the same way. I heard music growing up. It would have been a bit better if, like in the family of my friend Paul, people played music all the time, but exposure is still important. It's important to not think of a skill as something entirely yours. It's about the influences. Not laying claim to a skill is a good way of avoiding that bravado that comes from making something that you think is good. That my writing skill is really something given me by my parents, and by my time practising, is humbling in a good way.

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