This week you'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the sensation caused by Scottish spinster and remarkable songstress Susan Boyle. Her magical turn in front of noted misery-guts and all-round sourpuss Simon Cowell has been the hit of the internet and the subject of world-wide water cooler chit chat.
As terrific as that was though, it's worth considering that at this very moment, the greatest tenor of all time could be tending a flock in the Bolivian highlands while the sweetest soprano to have ever sung a note could be spreading asphalt in Tibet. The next Picasso could be plowing a field in the Ukraine while a novelist of rare insight is building I.E.D's for the Taliban. How many millions of glorious musicians, artists and visionary thinkers has mankind lost over the centuries to anonymity, lack of opportunity or disinterest? That Susan Boyle existed out there with her beautiful voice going unnoticed is not in the least unusual...that millions of us were able to share in and enjoy her moment in the sun was.
So where in the hell am I going with this? As a carver and artist, I know that many times success is not so much a matter of talent and ingenuity as it is a matter of good fortune. In the case of Susan Boyle, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on television in front of millions of strangers has been the difference between fame and obscurity. For the Bolivian shepherd and his ilk, there will likely be no such chance. Without the chance to perform for an audience, talent is never noticed, which finally brings me to the point of this rather long-winded preamble.
In August, the Left Coast Eisteddfod will make its inaugural appearance as a cultural event. Without support, events of this kind do not succeed and the opportunity to present a platform for talent both known and undiscovered is lost. Somewhere out there could be the next great author, poet, photographer, swashbuckling pirate, or leather-lunged Tom Jones...this is your opportunity to help find them!
I have donated the Left Coast Eisteddfod lovespoon as a way to help make donating to this worthy event a bit more enjoyable. For every dollar you donate, you get a chance to win the spoon when it is completed and presented at the Eisteddfod. As a Welshman working a traditional (and somewhat obscure) craft thousands of miles from 'home', I have enjoyed wonderful good fortune bringing my work to a larger audience. I hope that the small part I play in helping to raise funds for the Left Coast Eisteddfod will make it possible for others to display their talents too.
Finally, even if you can't donate financially at this time, consider supporting the Eisteddfod by mentioning it to people you know, by trying your hand at some of the online competitions and by attending the event on August 21 and 22 in Portland, Oregon.