Friday, 16 December 2011

So Many Skills


If I was to ask you to write down all your skills you’d run out of paper for sure. We’ve all acquired so many skills in life that we take most of them for granted. I’ve had two email chats this week that have made me think about my skills. The first was about writing poetry. Sue from PoetrySpace Competition asked if I could write a post for her blog about my approach to poetry writing.

      “Yes, no problem,” I said and I picked up my pen but I couldn’t find the words to describe it. Of course, I managed to find some words in the end. I rarely am completely lost for words. [“That’s true!” says Mr A as he walks past my desk.] The resulting article is here. I’d love to know if you approach your poetry-writing in the same way.

The second chat was with Sarah from Empty White Pages. I’d commented on her blog that a song she’d featured in last week’s post has satisfying guitar chord changes. Sarah was surprised.

      “You play guitar?” she said. “I never knew.”

      “I’ll blog about it,” I said and we both agreed that it’s fascinating to find out about other things that bloggers can do so…

I learnt to play the classical guitar as a child and moved on to acoustic in my teens. I dabbled with the harmonica and for a short time was an oboist in the school orchestra. I rarely play the guitar these days. My once hardened finger ends have gone all soft and soppy and it hurts too much. I prefer to sit at the piano where I can just about plonk out a tune. Oh yes, and I also have a bodhran drum, a leaving gift from one of my teaching jobs, but drumming is a skill that I’ve never quite mastered, although I can make the most thunderous racket with it… especially when I’m stressed!

What skills have you got hiding under your bushel?



23 comments:

  1. High five! Like you, I play the piano, and a little guitar but I also play a little bass guitar and cello from time to time. I played cello in the school orchestra as well as part of a GCSE group. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm a yoga teacher. It's a nice balance to my writing - playful and more outgoing than my introverted writing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There's always more to someone than meets the eye, isn't there? Hm, a skill? Looking at daily life through the camera lens. Whatever I capture initiates each blog post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I play guitar, too, but like you, my fingers have grown soft from lack of playing. I used to write songs and plays to teach the children at church, too. Lessons can be remembered so much better when reinforced with songs children enjoy singing. I also dabble in oil painting ... yet another "talent" that's been left on the back burner for far too long.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Like Joanne I tend to write blogs about things I do so not hidden then. But the one I most enjoy I have not yet written about - singing. I love to sing and can never get enough of it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a clarinet I am learning to play, I learn't I can teach and love it..sadly I am tone deaf and can't sing a note (unless I am on my own).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hehehe that's an interesting question... I'm unfortunately a jack-of-all-trades type, so there are hundreds of talents that lie around un-exploited:

    Uhm... I paint and draw, although it's been about six years since I touched a paint brush.

    I fenced until about my third year at university.

    I have done broad swording an rapier duelling (not to death... yet ;-P)

    I wrote only poems for about five years before I turned to my first novel.

    I have been told that I'm a genius at writing plays. I'm returning to playwriting this coming year as I have been asked to rewrite someone's libretto.

    I sing solo and want to make performance in musicals a career.

    I speak four Languages: English, Afrikaans, Mandarin and French. I'm learning Italian.

    I once place third in my country for school table-tennis. I have a straight serve that's so fast that even if you only touch the ball, it will fly over the table.

    I've been told I'm wonderful with children. I think I'm good with teens, but better at terrifying children.

    I'm a nut for trivia.

    I've been designing clothes since third grade.

    And on and on and on...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Catt and high five back at you. I’ve never tackled anything larger than the guitar. Cello sounds impressive.

    Hi Melissa, I’m a member of a pilates group but I wouldn’t know how to teach it. You must be amazingly fit to teach yoga.

    Hi Joanne, I admire anyone who can use a camera well. I try but when the photos are good I have to own up to it being an accident.

    Hi Susan, I so agree with you. I used to use the guitar in school. We had to do a class assembly each term and I always planned our whole assemblies round a song.

    Hi Sage, the clarinet makes a beautiful sound… or does it?!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Classical guitar..... I'm impressed. I think I do remember you mentioned that once when we were talking flamenco. I have a flamenco guitar crying in the closet that I never learned how to play. That's where all my skills are, in the closet.
    Roz, enjoy the weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's wonderful, Rosalind! I do want to check out your post on poetry. I need all the help I can get in writing it!

    I sing a bit on the weekends and sometimes I attempt to play piano, but I'm not very good. I've always been a horrible music reader, but I can play by ear. Just a little. :)

    This is a nice thing to know about you. I think you need to make a video and give us a concert!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can play piano and clarinet, and I bake really good toffee cookies :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a great idea!

    I love that you're so musical! I play piano (actually haven't played in decades - no piano!) and my son plays guitar. Love to hear him play :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Ros .. wonderful that you can play some instruments .. a big advantage .. I learnt the piano - but having a zero sense of rhythm didn't help at all .. self-confidence zero for dancing et al ... so music not my thing .. but I've bought some books to read - to see if I can up my knowledge slightly.

    I enjoy cooking different things .. but do very little of that .. and was a reasonable ball player at school, squash player subsequently - though 'cold balls' on my return to the UK didn't impress me! I'm now into the learning mode - simply "my way" .. cheers and enjoy the weekend and seasonal take on life .. Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  14. A MESSAGE FROM MISHA

    Misha Gericke has left a new comment on your post "So Many Skills":

    Hehehe that's an interesting question... I'm unfortunately a jack-of-all-trades type, so there are hundreds of talents that lie around un-exploited:

    Uhm... I paint and draw, although it's been about six years since I touched a paint brush.

    I fenced until about my third year at university.

    I have done broad swording an rapier duelling (not to death... yet ;-P)

    I wrote only poems for about five years before I turned to my first novel.

    I have been told that I'm a genius at writing plays. I'm returning to playwriting this coming year as I have been asked to rewrite someone's libretto.

    I sing solo and want to make performance in musicals a career.

    I speak four Languages: English, Afrikaans, Mandarin and French. I'm learning Italian.

    I once place third in my country for school table-tennis. I have a straight serve that's so fast that even if you only touch the ball, it will fly over the table.

    I've been told I'm wonderful with children. I think I'm good with teens, but better at terrifying children.

    I'm a nut for trivia.

    I've been designing clothes since third grade.

    And on and on and on...

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's very true, it's very hard to teach someone poetry. After my blog course with Kristen Lamb I'll probably veer away from talking about writing and anything useful on the poetry front can go in another page.

    I love that you are/were musical. I used to play guitar and piano, but mostly the organ and now my hands are too soft. (That's my excuse too). I guess my biggest surprise is that I was twice British champion in Tae Kwon-Do, not bad for a wimp :)

    Do you have any photos of you playing you could share, that would be awesome! Happy Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm afraid most of my skills are of the analytical kind. Then there are all the things I love, like writing, taking photos, gardening, and on and on. I guess you do develop skills as you plug along, learning along the way. About Dulcy's Story: you asked if you would cry, yes, I did. But not because she died (she was dead as she related the story to Dee, after all), no, I cried because I have never read a book that so defined what love is. I felt surrounded by love and it touched me so much that I did, indeed, cry.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wouldn't call it a 'skill' just yet, but... I first picked up a ukulele in April this year (2011) and I'm now through the pain barrier and have a growing repertoire, although I can't play tunes from memory. I have to have the chords written in above the lyrics.
    I can sign in BSL and used to teach 'singing' in sign language to deaf students, which is quite apt because I can't hold a tune vocally.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You are a very talented person with many skills! I can't sing or play an instrument, but I love using my imagination in making crafts and I like to sew and take pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry for this late response to all your much appreciated comments. It’s been yet another difficult few weeks here.

    Hi Manzanita, yes I did talk about my guitar when you were running your flamenco blog series. It’s sad to think that my guitars are probably having a little weep too. Maybe I could just have a little strum later on.

    Hi Amy, my piano playing is awful but I do it anyway as long as no one but me is around to hear… and so I’m afraid I’ll have to say ‘no video’! I don’t want to lose all my lovely blogger friends.

    Hi Susanna, toffee cookies! Now that’s a skill that we all need. (I’m on my way round!)

    Hi Jemi, my daughter used to play the flute and I’d stop what I was doing and sit and listen to her practising. It was beautiful.

    Hi Hilary, cooking is a great skill. I used to play squash too and some of my friends used to warm the squash ball in a certain item of upper body underwear.

    Hi Misha, I know I called this post ‘so many skills’ but you have so many skills! Fencing sounds terrifying. You must be very brave… and fit and I’d love to speak more languages. Maybe that should be an aim for next year.

    Hi Catherine, Tae Kwon-Do! I’m impressed. I’d love to play the organ, one of those huge concert ones.

    Hi Inger, I’d love to improve my photographic skills.

    Hi Christine, I used to have a mandolin. Is that like a ukulele? And it does hurt, doesn’t it. May daughter can sign but I’ve never learnt.

    Hi Janet, if only I could use my hands more creatively. Whenever I try to sew I get knots in the thread and get myself in a right mess.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm sorry I'm so so late posting on here, I'm chasing my tail a bit right now! I didn't realise that you quite so talented - and I love the idea of a drum as a stress reliever :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. My goodness what a talented lot you all are. I remember reading this post and saying, I have no talent I can write about but I was brought back to ittoday through twitter so I've had a think. I'm really good with babies and children I love being with them, teaching them new things and they seem to like being with me. I'm chief babysitter to all who know me. A few years ago I qualified in Swedish massage and Indian head massage purely to pass my time and only do it for friends so yes, I suppose that is a skill.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Sarah, don't apologise. It's a busy time of the year and we're all chasing our tails. You wouldn't like the idea of a drum as a stress reliever if you lived next door to me!!

    Hi Cassam, Swedish massage! You can do Swedish massage and you were thinking that you have no skills!?! You are also a very talented writer.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I didn't get around to reading your poetry post the last time I was here, but read it just now and really enjoyed it! I have no scientific way of writing poetry either - I just write by feel. Sometimes it's right and sometimes it isn't. But I like trying to tell a story in poetry - it's kind of like doing a puzzle, figuring out how to say what you want to say and make it work :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting. I do love receiving comments. Your comment will be sent to me for moderation before appearing here.

If you do not have a Google account, click on the Google account box and select Anonymous. Spam comments are not accepted on this blog.