Walmart, in its wisdom, is of the opinion ANYONE can be taught to decorate cakes. As a result they have provided me with some of the most "interesting" candidates imaginable.
A woman who undoubtedly gives MD's penmanship lessons. I'm sorry, but one should not have to hire a CIA codebreaker to decipher Happy Birthday on a child's birthday cake.
A woman who could not SPELL birthday. Writing on a cake is not like horseshoes. You do not get points for getting close. Hapee Britday.
A woman with one eye, who actually became a decent cake decorator once we figured how to deal with that pesky depth perception problem.
I have been fortunate enough to train several really fantastic cake decorators. Want to know how? I trained them in the basic skills required to decorate a cake - icing it, putting a border on it, air brushing it, and a few other techniques and then you know what I did? I turned them loose with their imaginations and time.
|(Work of Amanda Collins)|
I'm not a great cake decorator. I've been doing it a long time. I'm competent. The girls I've trained, however, the really great ones, had one thing going for them I couldn't teach them, show them, or give them - the gift. And once they discover their gift and give it free rein and time they are amazed at what they can create.
|(work of Amanda Collins)|
Cake decorating is an art. Creating great art requires skill, training, talent, constant practice, time and the gift. Skill comes with training and practice. Talent comes in small doses and large, but the gift is from some Higher Power and it isn't given to everyone. And with the gift comes an almost addictive need to create. Once the tools of the art are given to the one with the gift the art becomes a taskmaster more insistent than a drill sergeant and as relentless as time.
|(work of Amanda Collins)|
In the current publishing world the concept of "Anyone Can Write a Book" is bandied about more and more every day. And while anyone can be taught the skills necessary to write a book and many have the talent and the desire to practice constantly I have discovered the gift for storytelling is a bit more elusive.
With so many people eager to write a book and publish it quickly so they can move on to the next one and the next, the things necessary to develop talent, to hone skills, and to discover one's gift often get lost in the shuffle. Which is a shame. Because I happen to think far more people have the gift than realize it. Like kids on Christmas morning they tear open all of the big, shiny packages and start playing with them immediately. All the while the small package in brown paper - the one that isn't easy to see, that doesn't scream "OPEN ME!" the one we have to really look for and figure out is pushed under the tree and sometimes gets thrown away with the holiday flotsam.
Skills can be honed with practice, practice, practice. Talent, even the least little bit, can be expanded upon, especially if one is open enough to let their imagination loose. But the gift is what divides the people who write books from the storytellers. The gift must be unearthed, nurtured, explored and ultimately waited upon. It can't be rushed nor taken for granted. Everyone has gifts for something - gifts for creating beauty in the world. The important thing is to discover what that gift is and then do everything in the world possible to cultivate it and to be willing to give that gift the one thing it needs to shine - time.
What do you think? Can anyone write a book? Are some people just born with books ready to spring from their fingertips onto the page? What things do you do to nurture your gift?