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  • Writer's pictureDiana de Avila

What is it Like Working with an Acquired Savant Artist?

by Wilma Davidson, co-author of Soldier, Sister, Savant

Buckle your seat belt! And be ready to work at warp speed!

What helps beyond measure is having a gene for being compulsive also. This gene allows you to understand how the acquired savant artist is driven compulsively to create at a speed that mere mortals cannot; how the savant has an uncanny energy to prolifically produce art (upwards of 1,000 pieces since 2017)—and to experience exhaustion and renewal quickly!

Now, for a little back story—how did I get to partner with my acquired art savant co-author, Diana de Avila anyway? We met a year and a half ago when she became a new member of a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the arts alive—the Sarasota Branch of the National League of American Pen Women (

The bond was instant and is hard to explain, except to say that we somehow understood and shared that compulsive, don’t-put-it-off gene. We began working together as volunteers, I as president of the organization, and she has webmaster; and as I quickly learned her story, I said, “Your story needs to be told.” As an Art member of the organization, she creates art and I as a Letters member create words: Thus a memorable partnership was formed.

She is the savant, but I can read her mind, her mood, and spot-on at finding the words she needs. Her compulsive and magical art ability drives my compulsive wordsmithing to speeds I had not thought possible and increased my pre-Diana, more pondering productivity. That, by itself, is magical. We don’t fully understand it—but it’s undeniably there. Neither of us has to experience “wait time” for the other to catch up—we travel in the same orbit. Thus, it is remarkable how much we can accomplish together.

Partnering with Diana on this book has been time inexplicably precious. We think alike almost always; we reach agreement with easy debate. And we both have spent our lifetimes helping others discover the best in themselves. How priceless it now is to have brought out the best in each other.

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