The No Apologies Talent Show


Welcome, welcome. Please come in. Yes, have a seat. May I offer you a beverage? We can take your coat for you, or you can drape it across the back of your chair. We’re sorry it’s only a folding chair, but we hope you’ll find it comfortable nonetheless. It’s a crowded room and you have a good seat.

Excuse me? What’s that above? Why, that is a photo of double-jointed fingers bending backward.

Yes, you’re right. It is of poor quality. That’s because the lady of the house took it. We make no apologies for her poor camerawomanship, though, because this is the No Apologies Talent Show, where all are welcome.

Oh, sure you do. Sure you have a talent. We don’t even have to look beyond your outerwear to see just how talented you are. Could that multi-colored scarf be more artfully draped around your neck? We think not. You probably didn’t even look in the mirror when you doubled that scarf and pulled it through itself, did you? See, we knew it.  And you call yourself talentless.

So few people have any idea of the talent that abounds in this world, which is why we have arranged the No Apologies Talent Show.You may take the stage at any time to show us your talent. Many of you are shy, but we are patient.

You wish to take the stage, little girl? That makes us happy. What will her talent be, we wonder.

She is removing her socks and balling them up. Now she places them on the floor. Now she backs up, takes a running start, and. . .

she leaps over the socks!

That is indeed a talent. It’s called Jumping, and that little girl is good at it.

Here’s an older gentleman. What will he entertain us with? He is taking a pen out of his breast pocket. Now he is drawing little smiling faces on his knuckles. Now he is bending his hands into fists and dancing them through the air.  It’s a small army of little smiling knuckles! Everyone is laughing.

We call that the talent of the Smiling Knuckle Fists, and how happy we are to have seen it. How happy we are to have laughed.

A young boy, made bold by the success of the other talented audience members, scurries onto the stage. From his pocket he withdraws a chopstick. Now he ties a string to one end of the chopstick. Now he slowly passes the stringed chopstick through the air before him. Back and forth go our heads, in unison.

What is the young boy doing, you ask? He is fishing for fireflies. He is waiting for a kitten to appear. He is a young hypnotist in training. He is the conductor of an unseen and silent underwater orchestra.

His is a seemingly limitless talent. We bring our double-jointed fingers together in applause.

Now it’s your turn. Please, take the stage, and do not be shy. There is only admiration here in this crowded room full of audience members on folding chairs. Don’t you want to hear the applause? We are clapping just for you.


  1. Lucy · April 5, 2009

    I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue. All the women in my family can, but none of the men. I don’t know whether this qualifies as a talent though since it requires little development or practice…


  2. alison · April 5, 2009

    Touching the tip of your nose with your tongue absolutely qualifies as a talent, here at the No Apologies Talent Show. And I’m thrilled you brought it up, because that is one of my most special talents as well, and I’d forgotten all about it. Let me see if I can still do it. . . why yes, there we go!


  3. Elizabeth · May 2, 2009

    i love love ❤ your book Julia Gillian (and the art of knowing) the book is awsome the 2nd om came out the day before my birthday i was so excited to read the book THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS BOOK!!)


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