The dialogue in plurk, for those of you that can't see it, went a little like this:
[Ali] : Marnix gets his very own 7th day blog question: Tell us what talents you have. IN DETAILI guess, in summary, it is my own fault for moaning about a week of blog challenges not lasting a week.
[me] : RL or SL?
[Ali] : Both.
[me] : Aw man. That's a toughie
[Ali] : That's what you get for making me come up with another question that didn't have anything to do with me.
But it is a toughie. What are my talents? If I were to enter a talent contest what would my act comprise? Were I to appear on New Zealand's Got Talent what would I be doing at the second three big red crosses sparkled above my head? To be honest, in the traditional sense, I got nothing. I can't sing. I can't dance. I can't play the kazoo. I haven't trained a dog to do any of the above either. I can wiggle my ears but I think, despite that mind-blowing talent, I might have to cast my net a little wider for the benefit of this post.
Dictionary.com says a talent is "a special natural ability or aptitude". So it is something congenital rather than learned. What am I just good at?
RL sees me sitting at a desk all day doing numbery, spreadsheety stuff. In brief terms, much of what I do involves taking lots of data and condensing it down and summarising it so and drawing conclusions that other people can understand it. Sometimes I make pretty graphs. I guess that is a talent - making something incomprehensible comprehensible, right?
What else could be considered a talent? Perhaps being affable? Having the ability to put people at ease, being easy to talk to, making them laugh with my dry and understated, self-deprecating wit? Yeah, maybe. If so, I guess that one would extend to both worlds. I hope that people feel comfortable around me and that I make them smile. I know sometimes people don't get my sense of humour and think I am serious when I am totally joking, but that's just something that comes with time, I guess. It's cultural. Bear with me. You'll get there.
And if we move to SL, I guess my one talent would maybe be my art. I hope it is somewhat of a talent anyway. Otherwise I am wasting everyone's time, right? I know it is art, and clearly that means appreciation of what I produce, like all other art, is highly subjective, but I hope enough people like it enough for me to keep doing it. I enjoy it if nothing else. I just hope others gain enjoyment from it too. I struggle with motivation when there is no prospect of sharing.
I was never arty at school. I couldn't draw. I couldn't sculpt. I could do technical drawing a bit, but that was just maths with a pencil and ruler really so it doesn't count. I always felt like I want to have an arty side. I was just rubbish at it. Numbers were always easier. And they were right or wrong. There is no subjectivity in algebra. So when I discovered this abstract art I now create I felt a release in finally having an outlet. The tap had opened, the damn had burst and pretty, abstract art poured forth. A bit like my words on this blog.
It is actually quite hard to list your talents when you don't have any of the traditional ones. Also I reckon talents are quite subjective. What others might see as a talent in you, you might just see as 'you' rather than anything special. I have tried to do the question justice but self-promotion is definitely not one of my talents.