Creativity Without Talent

Jennifer Marchessault

© Copyright 2009 by Jennifer Marchessault


For all my life I have felt it; the need to innovate, the need to create.  I have thought it to be my calling, the purpose of my life: making the world more magnificent for others.  In my heart lives an artist, in my head a poet, in my bellows a musician, and in my appendages a dancer.  In every medium, I wish to express beauty and wonder that exists and that which is unseen.

I drip brilliant shades of red, rich and deep blues, and succulent creamy greens onto my pallet. I grasp a thick and sultry sable brush perfectly tapered to a razor-sharp summit.  I immerse my brush in the paint.........touch it to the canvas.  I see, vast rolling landscapes, splashes of color and light, brilliant sunsets, soothing beaches, splashes of perfect vibrant color.

I look at the canvas, jagged lines, broken elliptical circles, nought-dimensional formless shapeless globs of paint.   A brilliant abstract?

.................. Perhaps paint is not my forte.

I hold a lump of cold cool clay.  Feel the smooth texture of the surface moistened by perfect droplets of water.  My mind roams to vastness of the universe and all the possibilities it holds is contained within my two infinitesimal hands. I see trees and birds and all creatures that are known and walk the earth, all plants, animals, structures and land masses that exist or have existed.  I think to the unknown, to the depths of the oceans to the unfound galaxies and planets to the wonders and secretes that elude our eyes; all is in my rule.

I have made a very ugly unicorn

.............. Maybe sculpting is not my speciality.

I hold my guitar firmly, run my palms lightly across the smooth glossy wood, firmly pick at a string and intensely embrace the smooth tone of the open cord until it softly fades into silence.  I ogle at its magnificent splendour as I fondle its long sensuous neck, by running my fingers up and down it. One by one I softly trace my fingers along each fret.  I envision beautiful sonnets, earthy calming folk songs, intricate cords and melodies, and timeless compositions.

I listen now.... I hear twangs of soulless sounds, I miss-play a cord of the two I have learned, and then desolate the other. I hear neighbours upstairs shouting for the cessation of the agonizing noise. My fingers are almost as sore as my spirit.

...............  Possibly, guitar is not my strong point.

I place a shiny vinyl record on the player.  Smooth Jazzy sounds pour out from the surround sound speakers.  Ella’s distinctive tri-octave vocal purity pushes though the speakers and pierces my ears.  My eyes close, my fingers tap, my head sways.  I rise to my feet, inspired of visions of greats; Jack Cole and Katharine Dunham; their bodies flawlessly moving in perfect harmony with the rhythmic beats.

Performing my own lacklustre improvised version of a Pas de bourrée my socked foot slips on the over polished hardwood, the other follows...... My coccyx throbs unrelentingly and I shudder at the slow realization

........................ That I have broken my ass.

Frustration lies within the shackles of my body prompted by the limitations my hands have to mould and sketch, by my legs to move and dance, the clumsiness of my fingers, my stunted vocabulary and general infinite lack of artistic and expressive ability. How is it that this fire resides so fierily within a being where talent was not bestowed?

Inside my mind’s eye lies great works of art, harmonious music, timeless novels and poetry, wonderfully expressive body movement, and untold beauty.  Unable to make my body do what my mind sees, creates untold angst and exasperation.

I push my body forward with my still useful appendages now covered in splashes of unsightly greenish brownish hues of acrylic paint, hands dried and crusted by remnants of clay, fingers abraded by harsh twists of metal tightened firmly to that wooden vomit box, snailishly squirming towards the blaring record player anxious to cease the melody that will now and eternally be coupled with agony.  Before I can get to it, the song changes, and an enchanting instrumental version of a ship without a sail begins to play.

Tranquility begins to re-enter my being and the frustration begins to dissipate with the quieting melody.   The words though they are not present in the recording are ever so present in my mind.

Eyes close again and soft humming begins to emit from my throat.  I am lost in it now, and unknowingly words begin to form on my lips and boisterous tones accompany them. The next three songs are also instrumental ballots that are all too familiar.

Time ceases as all of my being is entrenched in marvellous song.

Abruptly a sharp rapping at the front entrance breaks the trance, the door creaks open and a voice muffles “Mam, are you injured”.  It seems that my neighbours have phoned the police for dread of my ill-being.......... “Your neighbours heard shrieks”.................................

 Alas the tale was told, whilst titters, chortles and chuckles subsisted. Upon the cessation of amusement the officers sympathetically convey me to the infirmary to tend to my cracked coccyx.

Maybe I should take up golf.

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