I read this thoughtful little poem this week. It speaks to me. Can you tell why?
Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.
. . .
The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniquer,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms
is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet . . .
The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
liek it better than being loved.
Excerpts from "For the Young Who Want To" by Marge Piercy, quoted in 100 Essential Modern Poems By Women.