Christmas is over, but the music plays on. A couple of days ago, I was listening to the radio in my car on the way to the store. I was no longer at risk because I’d already lost Whamageddon for 2020 (on December 23rd, no less, but I won’t be bitter). Little did I know I was about to get a lesson from The Little Drummer Boy about making art.
Come, They Told Me
It’s an open invitation when we’re young. You can do anything, be anything. Doctor. Rock Icon. President. Actor. Philanthropist. Extreme Sports Star. We live long enough that, these days, you can mix and match. One of those anythings for many of us was Writer.
Then, something happens. The REAL WORLD steps up to the mic, the record scratches, and the song changes. The arts careers are usually the first to go because, in this world, success equals money, and unless you are a prodigy, it’s likely to be a long time before your passion equals money. A quick shuffle off-stage, a costume change, and our inner drummer boys end up in a STEM program or a respectable business school. Our Back-Up Plans take center stage and leave our dreams waiting in the wings.
Come, They Told Me… I did. And you told me it wasn’t practical. Welcome to adulting.
I Have No Gift To Bring
But that’s not true. So, maybe you misplaced your gift when you were busy trying to be practical. That doesn’t mean it’s lost. You just set it down for something that someone else told you was more important.
Now, this isn’t to rag on families. The people who raise us, in general, have a singular concern: that we are able to take care of and provide for ourselves and have a good life. The arts in modern times are a fickle thing. Public favor blows like the wind, storms of interest and apathetic dead calms following without rhyme or reason. Perhaps our parents are just another link in the chain of Practical-Over-Passion, having given up their own dreams at the same urgings of the previous generation. It’s more common than you know, that viral legacy.
The point is, even if you were told your passion is worthless, even if you were coached to find a way to make a living instead of doing what you love, it wasn’t necessarily meant to harm. Even if it did. And the good news: your gifts and your passions are still there.
You do have gifts to bring, and I’m willing to bet you know what they are.
That’s Fit To Give A King
And that’s where I lost it. There I was, in tears, on I-75, listening to a Christmas song I’d heard a thousand times.
Don’t ever think you don’t have something to give that’s worthy of this world and the people in it. In truth, we each have nothing to give but our talents and our time.
And both of these things are extremely limited commodities. We only get so much time. As for our talents, the things we create are unique to us. They are the expression of our spirits. The art we make, the stories we tell, the love we share, the wisdom we impart. Each one is a kingly gifts because it is rare.
Because no one else can give what you can give.
Me And My Drum in 2021
In the New Year, I challenge you to embrace the things you were told to set aside because they were too frivolous, too impractical, or too loud. A drum is the perfect metaphor. The music of life moves each of us in different ways. Find the rhythm of your spirit, the part that only you can play. Approach the world with your gifts and offer them as you would to a king.
For they and you are worthy.
Check out some of my other articles for writers here.
Get some inspiration from the Method and Muse Podcast for writers here.
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