Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Thomas Edison said that genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, and that applies to any great accomplishment. Here's another quote and a couple of stories along those lines, and although they're about the performing arts, they've inspired me when I've been in the middle of the hard work. The quote is from George Balanchine:
“I don't want people who want to dance; I want people who have to dance."
And if you have such a need to express a talent, nothing will stop you.
A boy learning the violin plays a piece for a famous violinist. At the end, the violinist tells him, "You will not be good at this. You lack the fire."
Crushed, the boy goes away. A couple of decades later, he is a successful businessman and he meets the violinist again. "Well, I went into business," he says to the violinist. "And I've done well. So I guess you knew what you were talking about when you told me I wouldn't be good at music after you listened to me play."
"I didn't listen," the old violinist says. "A lot of people play for me. I tell them all the same thing - that they lack the fire."
"What?" The businessman is outraged. "But I might have been a great musician if not for you telling me that I lacked the fire!"
The violinist smiles. "You don't understand," he says. "If you had the fire, you would never have listened to me."
To paraphrase another saying I heard: those who can be talked out of it should be talked out of it. Not many people see just how much struggle goes into a successful writer's career. Here's another violinist story that shows just how much you might give up for your dreams.
After a wonderful performance by a famous violinist, a member of the audience said to him, "I would give my life to play like that!"
The violinist replied, "I did."