One of the questions I’m being asked about most often with The Only True Genius in the Family is what I believe true genius to be. A perfectly fair question, right? But a really hard one to answer! Philosophers and great thinkers have been pondering that question, or questions like it, for thousands of years. In coming up with what to say, I thought about my main character, Claire, a woman who is plagued by doubt about her ability to make art. She is caught between her famous photographer father and her painting prodigy daughter, and she is convinced that genius skipped a generation in their family. Claire could have bowed out of the family business. She could have said, “I think I’ll become an accountant, instead, or a marathon runner or a CEO of a multinational corporation.” But she didn’t. She felt called to make art, and she fought for the right to do it—a right that she had to grant to herself.
What Claire finds, in the end, is her own creative voice. Instead of worrying about her dad or her daughter or what anyone thinks, she just makes something because it feels right and good. That’s what I think true genius is: figuring out what you are meant to do, daring to do it, and feeling wholly alive in the process.