Humbled by your Craft

My daughter was watching one of those reality shows where talented artists come out and share their work with judges and they decide if they move on in the competition. Now, these performers would step on the stage, and before they would utter a word she would cast her own judgement. "This one won't go on." "This one will be good." Such comments. And she was always right. So I asked her what she saw when they walked out. She said some people just have a star quality. That simple.

So I sat with her to see if I could identify what a star quality was. Out comes this young man. He had the looks. He stood well. I could see him on the cover of Star magazine. She disagreed, this is apparently what a wanna-be star looked like. She assured me that he was about to fail miserably and he wasn't going to take it well. She was right.

And this had me curious.

Next was a shy boy, just as nice looking as the last. Perhaps shy is the wrong word. But he didn't stand like the previous fellow. His shoulders were in a touch, like his talent had beat on him good. I suppose this is how I saw it, and it might not be the case, but I can only report what I was seeing and feeling. And well... I know what it feels like to have a talent beat you senseless. His head moved naturally when he walked. He wasn't paying attention to the cameras or the crowd, he was there for help, not bragging right. Or, so his walk told me.

I wouldn't have been surprised if he ran off stage for no apparent reason. Yet he didn't. Maybe he was now in too deep to give in to that urge.

His stance reminded me of how I feel when I hand over a ms for someone to read and so what I experienced watching him became personal. 'Cause I was living this panic he felt. I know I have to share to get better, and so I do, but I know I'm not good enough to be sharing and so I want to puke.

When he spoke, he clearly knew his craft. He wasn't pretentious. He didn't say weird things like this is his last break, or he worked hard to get here, yet it was clear he'd practiced and he not only knew the long journey it took to get here, but he knew how much harder it would be if he was accepted in this competition. He didn't act like he was about to prove himself, just grow. Perhaps this gave him courage.

When he performed, my son came in from the other room to watch. My daughter who was also texting, stopped to ogle. I caught myself not breathing because I didn't want to miss a thing. We were entranced by the magic.

What we were witnessing was this star quality she referred to. It was raw talent, ready to be nurtured. And when the judges gave him praise, he said thanks, in the quiet way that one artist says thanks to another for offering them a hand when their craft beats them senseless.

He was humbled by his craft, and somehow, that made him a star.