Remember that quote? "Jack of all trades, master of none." That's me. Has always been and maybe will always be. Usually doesn't bother me, but apparently sometimes it does. Like today. (Not too much, but enough to write about it, eh?)
One afternoon in January of maybe 2000, give or take a year, when Fabio still lived in my building (when I still lived in "my building") we were discussing the persistently neurotic tendency some people have to compare their work to that of others. Artistic-types, anyway. It was a generous, kind day for the guy. He reminded me that he'd been creating photographic images for years and years...studying design and artistic concepts for ages. I, on the other hand, had not. A few classes in college, a few shoots to pay for film and paper...that's about it. I was still living in the fog of "It's important to know what you're going to be when you grow up," and having recently turned 30, I was not faring well in solidifying a decision.
Flash forward to a trip I took a couple of winters ago (left here during an ice storm to find ourselves in sunshine in the mountains - go figure!) with Susan, Jesse & Deik to visit such places as Blue Spiral in Asheville, and various pottery studios around Roan Mountain. Having known these potter friends of mine for some time by then, I'd heard certain names again and again. I'd recently asked, "What is it about Ruggles and Rankin that make people talk about them so much?" Deik said, in a most matter-of-fact tone, "Because they're great potters." And even if he hadn't told me then, I would have known immediately that day we dropped in at their studio for a quick peek around and hello and they invited us in for what must have been well over an hour of a potter-geek's heaven. So approachable and unaffected by what many consider to be their greatness, this couple was the real deal. And again I felt I was standing back, watching "real potters" in action. Those with their hands in clay, and my friends, as well. I've made a pretty piece or two in my time. An accomplished potter, I am not.
And THEN last summer when Cindi came up from Atlanta to offer two days of hard manual labor in "my yard" (a novelty in itself, having been an apartment dweller for, like, ever, until then) I was totally floored by her skill. It seemed like such important knowledge to have. I mean, to turn a shabby patch into a spot you wanted to just go sit on your porch and look out at! That's talent, folks.
Last week at the NCMPR national conference in Minneapolis, I came as close to feeling connected to like-minded people as any other time in recent days. More than once. Apparent that many of us are floundering in this world of 2005, putting out the best marketing content we can for our unique market with often limited resources, gave us a connection that's often missed. At many a round-table, I realized I was more supported than most, had come further than many. We're doing a lot with what we do have. And learning as fast as we can take it all in. I came home with a renewed sense of "I can do this."
So tonight I was scanning some developer blogs that shared highlights from this SXSW conference and after following about 4 links, realized I was doing it again! Reading the rants of "real web professionals" led me to "that place" again, and I had to work myself out of it. Lucky you for finding this entry. Yes, I perseverated for about a half hour over "I'm not even a real geek!" Oh great...now another topic to waste good brain cells on.
So what, right? I can construct fairly okay web pages, make unique necklaces that some people actually quite like, and when I'm in the mood, I can take a really cool photo or throw a piece of pottery that makes me proud. Pockets of subcultures, all around us. Artists, developers, teachers, gardeners...doesn't matter what we do...some do it stellarly, (nope, I don't know if it's a real word...don't care, either!) some forfeit achievement to explore a broader range of avenues. Not sayin' it's better, it just IS. (Makes me feel better tonight, anyway! So this is why I don't go to therapy - when you write, you don't feel as strong a need. hm!)