James Taylor, the iconic singer-songwriter, was asked in an interview, “When did your songwriting start?” Taylor answered, “I think I tried writing my first songs when I was 12 or 13 or 14 years old. They were little things — definitely nothing I’d care to offer now — but in that time, when folk music was popular, it was such an accessible thing. Everyone just pretended that they were songwriters, and in some cases it turned out to be true.” (HT Jay Nordlinger and NRO)
How much do I love that answer? “Everyone just pretended that they were songwriters, and in some cases it turned out to be true.”
I think a lot of us artsy-types began our creative pursuits “pretending” to be the thing we longed to be – writer, musician, painter, actor (which would be pretending to pretend, would it not?). And somewhere along the way, if we had the necessary talent and drive, we discovered we were no longer pretending. We had learned a craft and were actually DOING.
Now – I don’t think one can sustain a career in the arts by doing nothing more than pretending. (Again – unless you’re actor – and that’s your JOB.) At some point, one must become competent to survive.
But I wonder – do our hearts sometimes lead us toward dreams we aren’t yet ready to grasp? Toward buried talents we have yet to discover? Is it one of God’s unknowable ways to plant the desire in us to do some particular creative thing, long before we know if we have the talent to do it?
I think maybe, yes. And in the meantime, we may need to pretend a little.