I still read a lot of biographies, mostly on wikipedia, the ‘early life’ section, to see how very talented people got where they got to. I sometimes wonder if this is healthy, but then again 20 years ago it was obituaries that fascinated me, and seeing as a lot of the bios that I read are about people that are still alive, perhaps I’m heading in the right direction.
The answer to how very talented people get where they get to is that they usually started doing what they do very young and did it obsessively for ever afterwards.
So now I’m learning the guitar I read bios of guitarists that fascinate me, always interested to see the path they took, and I discover that they all started somewhere between the ages of about 9 and 15, and were usually very good very quickly.
But why am I so fascinated by this? Do I want to become a famous guitarist? No! Yes! (…says my inner teenager)… No – really, it isn’t necessary.
One of the best days I had recently was up in the mountains above Madrid on my own watching butterflies in the woods, thinking they live for only a day and look how well they spend it. Fluttering amongst flowers and grasses. Relaxing on sticks or tree bark. Finding a mate. Then they’re gone.
They just live. And in fact they live from between a week to 9 months or more, the one day thing isn’t true, but still, not long. And unless there is a butterfly Jimi Hendrix or Mozart or Shakespeare which we have no idea about (who knows!), I’m pretty sure they aren’t comparing themselves to famous butterflies and just fly about, enjoying the flowers, being outside, and consider that a life well lived.
I’d have to agree with them.