This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Be Free: Your Life And What You Make Of It...

Being talented sets you apart from the crowd. There, alone--you stare back at them, the masses-- and wish you could join their ranks of normalcy. You see, they don't know what it's like to be too smart for your own good.


"There's nothing worse than being ordinary," says Angela Hayes in American Beauty. Yet, no one knows loneliness more intimately than the geniuses and prodigies of this world.

Recently, I saw a little Swiss film by the name of Vitus. It's about a little boy named Vitus, who is blessed with a natural gift for music--piano in particular. His interest and talent in music blossom in the early years. As his parents begin to recognize his gifts, they take steps to push Vitus to the next level and try to cement his future as a musical prodigy.

Vitus came out of nowhere to become one of my newest favorite films. A simple story, it touched me in ways that similar stories such as Shine, A Beautiful Mind, and Searching For Bobby Fischer did not. Perhaps it's because I know a little bit about being gifted.

I was born into a musical family myself--I'm the the great-granddaughter of a professional violinist, the granddaughter of a professional pianist and the daughter of a professional pianist (my mother.) Blessed with long, slender piano-playing fingers and an ear for music, piano was to be my future. Like Vitus, I spent many long hours at the keyboard. Additionally, I excelled at academics and I was in the gifted program. Yes, I was one of those annoying smart kids. I didn't necessarily want any of it. Yet, I didn't know any other way. Like Vitus, I too, just wanted to that average kid.

In piano, I rebelled against my own talents and refused to take the path set before me. If I'd applied myself, I could very well be a piano virtuoso right now, but instead I wrecked havoc on the lives of many piano teachers (sorry!) because piano wasn't what I wanted. Later, as a high school senior set to become the future valedictorian and unexcited about the prospect, I took a pottery class for fun (and to lower my GPA just enough to get me down to #2.)

Vitus is absolutely gifted, yet it's his talents that isolate him. He longs to be normal, to have the chance to be a child, and to experience what normal is. Vitus is about a boy wonder's journey to find himself and the person he wants to be. Vitus is a superb story about following your own path and living life on your own terms.

I officially broke the musical tradition in my family and I've survived (so have they...) Occasionally, I return to piano to play for myself. I've even taught myself some guitar. One of life's most important lessons is recognizing that you are in charge of your own life and what you make of it. Make it count.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

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