Extra credit: Do you have any completely useless talents?
Hmm. Well, in the Mâvarin books, the word "talent" usually refers to a magical one, with different magicians having different sets of abilities. (Yes, I know that's a little like Xanth. Hush!) If I were a mage, in a world where such things were possible, I'd like necromancy as a talent. I don't mean icky reanimation of bodies, or messing around with crystal balls. But I'd love to be able to do what a couple of my characters do in Mages: bring someone's spirit back from the Hereafter for a couple minutes of conversation, and then let them go back where they belong. I'm not sure it would be an ethical thing to do, but it would be interesting
Here in the real world, most of the things I don't do very well are clustered around three basic shortcomings:
- an inability to really notice what's going on around me, and
- an inability to understand spatial relationships well, and thus
- an inability to manipulate my physical environment well.
And you know my typing skills are pretty abyssmal, although I've been hanging aroud QWERTY keyboards since I was six years old.
Even singing is something I don't quite do well enough. I don't mean by professional standards, but even as an amateur. I was crushed (again) when a member of the St. Michael's choir told me a couple of weeks ago that I'm a little flat - or was it a little sharp? I forget. I can hear when someone sings badly off key, but I can't hear the more subtle transgressions I commit myself. In junior high and high school, I made All-County twice and Area All State once, and sang in the OK Chorale. But I never made the really select choirs, the Choraliers and the Swing Sixteen, and I never got a solo.
Well, it hardly matters now, after all these years. I'd like to stop tripping and hurting myself, but even that doesn't usually bother me as much as it probably should.
One musical thing I would like to do better, even now, is write original melodies. I've written a few in my time, but not often, and they mostly aren't very good. I have a fair idea what's wrong with them, but I lack the talent to fix them. How do Paul McCartney and Billy Joel and all those other folks come up with great new combinations and patterns for the same old notes?
One of my characters is, among other things, a semi-professional musician. He sings for his supper, tells stories, and does a little stage magic that secretly contains real magic. I've written several songs for him to sing in the books, but I haven't enough melodies to go around. One night, doing a reading from Heirs for my then five-year-old godson and his parents, I suddenly came up with a semi-decent melody for the comic ballad The Bear and the Beaver. I was thrilled, until I realized that I'd stolen the melody from My Name is Fabi Stok. And I'm not sure I can still remember the melody I came up with, flawed as it was, for Sleepy Moon.
But heck. We can't all be Paul McCartney, can we? My mom wrote a number of melodies in her day, but I eventually realized as I grew older that even she didn't come up with enough completely new songs to carry each of her musicals. For the rest of the numbers, she wrote parody lyrics to modified pop songs such as The Glow Worm, or serious lyrics (such as One For the Wanting) to classical melodies.
In case you're wondering, the answer is no. Fayubi won't be singing melodies by the Clash or Gwen Stefani any time soon.
Extra Credit: useless talents? What, you mean like ear-wiggling? No, not a one.
I'm giving two things up for Lent this year:
- the vending machines at work, except for soda and the one machine with tuna and crackers and stuff like that, and
- blogging after midnight - including blog-jogging. Except for Friday nights, of course.
So for now, that's my solution to the seemingly insoluable problem of my not having enough time for sleep and housework and such. We'll see how it goes.