Sunday, 14 December 2008

Talent...... and the spotting of it......

This question arose when a friend changed his status from single to blank. Whereupon half the world swooped to either burst into tears or make remarks on the subject, I replied to one of those remarks, and the question of talent came up.... don't ask how... because I'm honestly not sure myself.

Anyway. My qualifications for spotting theatrical talent. First of all, I am the daughter of an actress, so I have been hip deep in board treaders since I was in nappies (apologies for that rather nasty mental image!). Secondly, I have been able to tell a good from a bad theatrical performance since I was old enough to know that a stage wasn't only something that the sheriff rode into town on. When you have seen as much ham and cheese as I have, you are completely riveted by good performances even if they be in the humblest of productions. And... I've lived my entire life surrounded by it, I can tell real life from performance.... I really do know a thing or six about performance art!!

All of which leads me neatly to the question of my own talent spotter status on Authonomy. Your talent spotter status soars or falls by the bookshelves you make, how long each book reposes there on your shelf and a host of other factors including how many people agree with your choice of books. It's about literature, which is a static, yet still performing, art.

My choice of books relies on a very simple formula. Would I buy said book in print? If the answer is yes, on my shelf it goes. So if I say read and back Kip Doodle and the Armchair of Lost Dreams for instance, that is because I would go out and buy it. Similarly, Tettig's Jewels is a book which appeals to both the romantic and the ghoul in me.... at once..... both are on my bookshelf, along with Annia's Fish Tail Mountain and Heikki's Tulagi Hotel and Shahan's riotously funny and very poignant The Great Armenian Novel, those of us with a semitic background recognise the mother instantly.....

That said, I base my opinion on what I like to read. The one thing that has really irritated me of late, is that people seem to treat this as a literary circle. Authonomy is a site provided by a business, and that business is dedicated to publishing books and making money. Literary love ins are not required. However, if you do go in for all that nitpicking and fault finding, please take the trouble to actually read the book first.

So I am going to take the opportunity to recommend, because it was one of the first books that I found on Authonomy, and I have returned many times (as is my reading habit) and it is still wonderful and stirring..... Ali's The Girl On The Swing... pop in, have a read..... enjoy!!

No comments: