Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Club Girl

My book club has been together since 1998. We were all moms with little kids at home, and once a month on a Monday night was a big deal to get out and talk to adults for a few hours. The challenge was to stay awake for the meeting. Now we discuss how those same kids are doing in college, but we still have a hard time staying awake.
Late last year, Harper Collins had a contest to become a sponsored book club for a year and I entered our book club. I had completely forgotten about it until I got an email telling me we won. We get to pick a book from a bunch of choices every month and they send us the free copies. Once this year, an author will Skype or call into our meeting to discuss their book! We got our first shipment of books today, and I am thrilled. They have sent us a copy of a book that hasn't been released yet, it's our job to start a word of mouth campaign for these books which seems like an honor. Mostly we are relieved to not have to figure out what we should read every month, the pressure is off to find a great book because it's already been done for us.
We have been through a lot together: a bunch of babies, a handful of divorces, a few re-marriages and our first grand-baby. We even survived Hurricane Sandy, when many of us had to relocate for months while our houses were repaired. What is wonderful about our book club is that for a few hours every month we have a glass of wine, maybe some cheesecake, and discuss how a book has touched our lives. These are the things that make for a lovely life. Thank you to my friends and to the authors who enrich our lives. We are forever grateful.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Running into a really old friend.

I graduated from the School of Visual Arts a long time ago with a degree in Fine Arts. It sounds impressive, but my brothers tell everyone I went to Crayon College. I loved the experience, and it has enriched my life. It set me on a path that took many turns for me to wind up where I am now; a computer teacher. It took a lot of turns.
One assignment I remember from school was to go the the Metropolitan Museum of Art and study a specific statue called Marble statue of a kouros (youth). You would walk right past it, as it is not very distinguishable from the thousands of other pieces of art in the same room. It is life-sized, but not very detailed. It's simple and straightforward. I had to write 10 pages on it. I just wrote two sentences about it and that's all you really need to know about it, so you can imagine how much elaboration had to go into 10 pages. That was the exercise; to really look and study it extensively. I sat in front of it for hours and then wrote about it for even more. I felt I really knew him. I handed in my paper and forgot about him.
I've been to the museum over the years, but I completely forgot about the statue until I bumped into him recently. (I didn't actually bump into him, you get into a lot of trouble for stuff like that.) I was shocked. He hasn't aged a day, and I've aged over 30 years since I last saw him. I stood there looking at him from the eyes of a grown woman, remembered the young lady who first studied him. Time really felt solid to me in that moment. I could sense the breadth of my life, and how insignificant my 30 years feels to a statue that's thousands of years old.
I thought about what was ahead of me back then; and all I've lived since. How I am just a blip on his timeline. Centuries will pass, and he will still be there. Nations will rise and crumble, and he will still be there. 
Art is powerful; it speaks to us in many ways. Mostly though, it reminds us to look outside ourselves. To see the small part we play, and to play it well.
It was good to catch up with him.