Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why Being Creative Counts

Imagine a childhood without cartoons, picture books, music. A world without books, paintings, sculpture, dance. A life without imagination.

My son is a fan of zombie apocalypse stories. We are binge watching a very popular tv show about zombies. While watching this bleak, gray world the characters are living in, trying to survive the next attack, someone starts to sing. Her song brings hope, beauty and entertainment to the situation. People have something else to think about than destroying the brains of zombies before they eat you.

She changed every person in the room with her song.

Art can change the world. It can inspire. It can bring people together. It can start a conversation. It can make someone happy.

There are many ways to be creative. You can paint a picture, write a song, create a website, host a YouTube channel. The choice is yours, and what you feel comfortable with doing to share your vision, your point of view, your story, your humor.

It might not look good at first. You might be embarrassed with what you produce. There is a reason for this. Ira Glass would say it is about taste, and it is a reason to keep trying until your taste meets what you are creating.  

With time and practice, your work will improve, and grow, and change. Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. Be an expert. Keep creating. Without new ideas, the world remains the same. Without song, the zombie apocalypse is always gray and hope slips away. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review: Go Set A Watchman

Jean Louise (Scout) is all grown up and contemplating marriage in the onset of Harper Lee's subsequent novel to "To Kill a Mockingbird." This book does not sound interesting to children, unless they grew up reading TKAM and want to read more from Lee.

Jean Louise has been living in New York and returns to Maycomb and her aging father, Atticus Finch. She is disheartened to see how things have changed with her father and her home town. Set in Alabama in 1955, Scout is seeing the changes in the world reflected in her beloved home town.

The story plods along to a long winded conclusion. The best parts are the flashbacks that let the reader catch up with what has happened in the last 10-15 years. Jean Louise's relationship with Henry is sweet, but there is a distance that may be intentional as Jean Louise is comfortable with the idea of being alone. Or maybe the distance is because he is new to the reader, but an old friend to Jean Louise. The long simmering romance between the two is revealed in playful memories.

The more important relationship is between Jean Louise and her father, the much admired Atticus Finch.  Her disappointment in what she learns of him is palpable. Fans of Lee's iconic novel may share that sentiment.