For the young who want to

by Marge Piercy 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.

Work is what you have done after the play is produced and the audience claps. Before that friends keep asking when you are planning to go out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you had after the third volume of remarkable poems.  Earlier they accuse you of withdrawing, and ask why you don't have a baby, call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s, take workshops with fancy names when all you can really learn is a few techniques, 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 proving you may be a clumsy sadist whose fillings fall into the stew but you're certified as a dentist.

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 like it better than being loved.

Found and loved thanks to Late B(l)oomer