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talent (long)

updated tue 30 apr 96


Jane Florez on tue 16 apr 96

Talent is nothing???? My father came to the U.S. in (approx.) 1917. He had a
third grade education in Mexico. Never went to school in the U.S. He had
artistic talent you wouldn't believe. There are people around the world who
study for years to learn what he knew about music, and he had no formal
musical training. He learned to read music when he was 5 (while he was in
the orphanage in Mexico). He ran away when he was 7. He was taken in by a
group of musicians who would take him to the 'fancy' bars in Mexico, and
have him sit outside and listen to the music. He heard a song once and turn
around and write the music for it. This way, the group would learn the new
songs without having to buy the music. He rode with Pancho Villa to the
northern part of Mexico, where he joined the circus. He was a clown in the
circus and played music as well. When the circus was in El Paso, a man so
enjoyed his music, that he 'signed' for my dad to stay in the U.S. so he
could play for his daughters wedding. Thus the beginning of my dads life in
the U.S. he was approx. 19 years old at the time. He was the director of the
Navajo Indian Band for a while, he had a marching band, and a dance band
(during the big band era he was booked every weekend). I still have a letter
from Halifax (England's ambassador to the U.S. at the time) commenting on
how much he enjoyed my dad's music. My dad played the harp, trombone,
saxaphone, clarinet, flute, trumpet, guitar, base, violin, viola, mandolin,
drums, and piano. He had 6 children, and we all had to learn how to play an
instrument (we had a family band). He could hear a song, and write the music
for it in any key and for any instrument you wanted. I remember seeing some
of his charcoal, and pen and ink sketches and wondering why he never put
them together in a book. They were great. My dad never learned to read,
write, or speak english. Eventhough he understood english very well, most of
the people would treat him like he was super 'dumb' because he would refuse
to speak english. He worked for the Santa Fe, in the silver mines, as a
forest fire fighter, and for the sawmill. He would buy land, build a house
and turn around and sell it. He would do all the foundation work, plumbing,
electrical work, etc. And, he would do such a good job, that it would all
pass inspection. If my dad did not have any talent, how did he figure all of
this out??? He did not go to the library and check out a 'Time-Life' book
from the 'how to do' series. He always told me there were two very important
things to remember about life. 1 - there is never a problem without a
solution. 2 - there is never a question without an answer. Before he would
teach me to drive, I had to learn: 1- how to rotate the tires on the car 2 -
how to change the battery 3 - how to change the oil 4 - how to do a tune up.
He had his 'own' way of doing math. I wish I had learned it. He always came
up with the right answer, and he never used paper and pencil. But, his true
love was always music. I often wonder what life would have been like for him
had he been fortunate enough to have had a 'real' education. Back to talent
-- I am a very strong believer in talent, and in the power of talent.

P.S. His bigest talent was in humor.... Charlie Chaplin was his 'hero'

At 11:44 PM 4/13/96 EDT, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Talent is nothing. At least it is not so importent to artistic expression.
>The need , the passion are what count. You are not going into art because
>something you have but because something you havn't ,something you need.
>Something that you still have to understand , and in our case understand
>also throu our bodies .
>I belive that being human is unstable situation and some of us in art and
>also in science are working to understand ,reflect and maybe to make
>it more bearable.
>please forgive my english I'll do the same to your hebrew.
>Israel Shmueli
>Petach Tikva
> on tue 16 apr 96

Great story about your family Jane!
I don't think those seeming to downplay the role of talent meant that they
don't think it exists. It's just that it doesn't do a person much good
unless there is also the drive and commitment to use the talent. My daughter
has had her grandmother's drawing ability since she was a toddler, but she
didn't really pay it any mind til she got to college. She took it for granted
and had no passion(despite gentle prodding by me) to make it be of use. This
year in college she's decided to be a studio art major(after taking some art
courses where the teachers clearly saw her as talented and told her so),
which I thought was her path all along. But it took her 19 years to find the
passion to drive her talent. Not everyone is born with both.
It could be that someone with a tiny bit of talent and alot of passion could
excel compared to one with lots of talent and no passion.
Take Care
Jennifer in Vermont
snail: Jennifer Boyer
Thistle Hill Pottery
HCR 32 Box 755
Montpelier, Vt. 05602
Voice: 802-223-8926
Fax: 802-223-1180