As a young man I stumbled across an article in which the author confessed that, “At twenty-seven I finally accepted I wasn’t genius.” I was all for a little self-deprecating humor, but couldn’t help feeling that he had given up prematurely on his genius. I certainly wasn’t prepared to give up on mine, though I wasn’t going to admit this to anyone. Wanting to be a genius seemed like an ambition you really ought to keep to yourself if you ever wanted to have any friends. The truth was that on any given day I could feel the light of my intelligence shining brilliantly or not at all. When it shined brilliantly, I just wanted to share it with everyone. When it was dim, I felt as if there wasn’t much need for me on planet earth. It was an up and down life. It worried me. Geniuses, I believed, were brilliant all the time. I was hoping the day would come when my light would turn on permanently.
I eventually found myself well beyond twenty-seven with my light still flickering from bright to dim. Then one day I got curious about something. It had to with creativity and freewill, though it doesn’t actually matter what it was, it just mattered that I became very, very curious about it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and talking to people about it and then even writing about it. It was all I wanted to think about, and the more I thought about it, the more I saw it in everything I did and read and heard.
And the more I thought about it, the less I cared about being a genius. In fact, the more I thought about it, the less I believed in geniuses, by which I mean special people born with a rare and distinguishing gift. My light never shines brighter than when I am indulging my curiosity, and I do not believe there is anything rare about curiosity. I do believe that many people choose not to indulge theirs, that many people think, “Who would be interested in this?” If the answer is, Me, then you’ve found your genius, and all you have to do is keep following that light.
"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com