Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Language of Creativity

I know a lot of people don't like reality television. Believe me, there's a lot of it that I don't like either. But, there's some of it that I do enjoy. I've been hooked on So You Think You Can Dance for years now. Master Chef is a more recent discovery. I've been thinking about why, despite all the cheesy drama, I still watch week after week, season after season. Here's what I've come up with. The creativity.
I love watching the contestants who get up on that stage and amaze me with their unexpected humor or   blow me away with the raw emotion of their performance.

(She starts dancing at 3:20 if you want to skip forward.)

Yes, I tire of those who take the stage because they "just know they're meant to be a star." What touches me are the people who are brimming over with creativity and their dance communicates a universal truth to their audience. Not look at me, I'm a star. But I'm a human being, I know what you're feeling. I've felt it too.

On Master Chef the contestants communicate with food. I personally, don't like to cook. (I do plenty of it, I just don't usually enjoy it.) But it's rewarding for me to watch these people who speak a whole different language - the language of food, which often has deep ties to their families, their childhoods, the community they were raised in.

I guess we all feel some of that each time we make a favorite dish for someone we care about. When my dad was alive, my sister and I would visit him every weekend in the nursing home. He had quite the sweet tooth and we'd take turns making things that he loved. After his ability for words dropped off, the food was a way to communicate.We'd open the cooler to reveal a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, or tiny squares of homemade fudge and his eyes would light up. He would open wide for bite after bite as we fed him. Sometimes he smiled. Sometimes he kept his eyes closed and remained in his own world. But I believe those tastes held more than calories. I believe they unlocked memories.

So even though I can't dance and I'm not much of a cook, I am captivated and inspired by these forms of creativity.

Monday, June 3, 2013


After one cab, two buses, and a car ride, I returned home from my first trip to NYC in the wee hours Saturday morning. And what a trip it was! I saw Rockefeller Center:

and Times Square:

At BookExpo America, I attended author panels featuring Rainbow Rowell:

Anna Jarzab, Cristin Terill, Amy Rose Capetta, Sara Farizan,

Robyn Schneider and Katie Cotugno:

Corey Ann Haydu:

Suzanne Young & Cat Patrick:

and heard about tons of exciting upcoming titles.

In preparation for this trip, I read a great many blog posts from people sharing their experiences from past years. Despite the horror stories, I didn't witness biting, shoving, using elbows as weapons, or anything remotely unpleasant. I stood in lots of long lines and met many lovely people.

The one common piece of advice I found over and over again was "wear comfortable shoes." Even so, I somehow managed to overestimate the comfort level of my shoes and underestimate the amount of walking involved. Which meant that at the end of day one, I had to spring for some comfy sneakers.They did not make the ideal match with my dress on day two, but vanity gave way to survival.

In an effort to save my shoulders, I tried my best to be discerning about what books I gathered, and came home with a total of 29 titles: one for my daughter, five for my mother, and 23 that I am eager to read myself. I look forward to sharing my reviews with you in the coming weeks.

Out on the sidewalk, just before I left on Friday, I was so pleased to meet Kelly Hager from KellyVision. With several years of BEA attendance under her belt, she graciously answered my questions, pre-trip and helped me prepare. I'm glad to have a face to go with her name (and blog) now, and happy to have been able to thank her for her help in person.

A tiny corner of the Javits Center as I left.

The greatest part about this trip was experiencing it with my wonderful daughter, relying on her understanding and Gods peace to help me overcome my anxiety and aversion to crowds. I did not suffer one moment of panic during the trip. God is good!