Saturday, 12 September 2009

Oh well, doesn't look there's much hope of a response from Jocelyn any time soon. According to her latest blog post:

"Yet again I seem to be months behind with my email, which is a bit ridiculous considering I've also been unemployed for months and therefore at home most of the time! I do intend to try to clear the backlog soon, though, so if I owe you an email, sorry for the delay and I hope to get to you soon."

It doesn't look as though we've got much in common anyway, beyond having been unemployed for months - the main subject of the blog is choral singing, which I gave up years ago (though I've recently thought of starting again), and her other preoccupation is football which I avoid like the plague!

But I think it'd still be interesting to swap notes with someone else who's had that childhood experience. I've met very few other people in my life who've had it, and it's not something I tend to talk about openly. I've tried looking round to see if there are support groups on the web but found very little. There was a mailing-list called "GT-Adults" ("GT" meaning "gifted and talented") which looked promising at the outset but seemed to be dominated by pushy American mothers whose children had been identified as "gifted" and had come to think of themselves in the same way. I posted there for a while but didn't really get on with them.

The other interesting thing I found recently was a lengthy thread on the left-wing American "Democratic Underground" site in 2006 proposing a sub-group for former gifted children. Although there was a great deal of support for it, the proposal was declined by the administrators firstly because they didn't think there was any way for them "to fairly determine who would qualify to participate in the group", and secondly because "some have argued rather persuasively that this could be divisive". I've sometimes found that people are opposed to the formation of such groups because of accusations of elitism, although in many cases former gifted children are anything but an elite.

I did raise the issue a couple of years ago on this thread on the Usenet group, which provoked quite an interesting discussion. While it's a part of my life I don't tend to dwell on most of the time, it's at times like this when I find myself unemployed and aimless once again that I start thinking about the influence that those experiences may have had on me. I know I'm not alone in my experiences and I sometimes wonder whether there's anything useful I could have learned from those days that I'm not applying now.

I may see if I can use this blog to gather together a few ideas on the subject, because I'm not sure if enough is understood about the subjective experience of being a gifted child. For me, it wasn't so much about performing well academically (which is what the adult world tends to concentrate on) as about the emotional experiences that went with thinking a lot and being creative. I've lost a lot of that in my adult life, for reasons that I'll hopefully go into later.

Anyway, enough for now. If I'm going to start keeping this site up then I suppose I really ought to get other people to start reading it!

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