Monday, April 28, 2008

What does "Curating a Creative Life" mean?

Many, many thanks to Janet Grace Riehl who left a comment on my recent post about how music and art can tap into a part of the mind that has been damaged to "re-teach" it. That post deals with a kind of therapy known as melodic intonation therapy. In a nutshell, the therapy teaches people to speak after a stroke by teaching them first to sing. Janet shared a very personal story about her mom, and I am very grateful for her comment.

She also asked if I could say a bit about the subtitle of my blog "Curating a Creative Life" and I realized that I may have always talked about this in a round-about fashion though never specifically discussed my philosophy on it. When I first moved to New York City over a decade ago, I was entranced by the window dressers of the department stores. And I was taken by set designs I saw in the theatres I worked in and by exhibits in so many of the incredible museums that make their home in New York. I wanted so much be someone who designs and chooses what goes where and how it all hangs together. I wanted to be a curator.

I went about my professional life thinking that design was beyond me, something that only the elite had a right to do as a profession. So, I put my business skills to work and toured with theatre shows, and later got into fundraising. I went to business school for my MBA, and now work for a toy company. All the while, I have been meeting interesting people in interesting places all over the world, and collecting their stories and my reactions to their stories. I recorded them in a journal for a very long time and now I write on this blog. In addition to my interest in curating, I am also intensely interested in narrative and story lines. I am a writer. And now I curate that writing.

"The hardest thing in the world is deciding what matters," says Susan Monk Kidd in The Secret Lives of Bees. She right; it is always hard to choose. There are so many amazing things to do and see and be in this world. Our job, our only job, is to choose which experiences, places, and people are the ones most deserving of our time. We are choosing, and therefore curating, the different pieces of our lives. Our lives are creations always evolving, morphing into something different than they were yesterday. With every new interaction, there is a new learning and we incorporate that, somehow, into how we approach the next interaction, and so on.

Like a museum curator chooses what to put in the exhibit and where to put it, we all choose where and when and with whom to place the events that make up our lives. We are all creatives, carefully weaving a tapestry of the events, people, and places that make up our lives, designers of the highest order.

Thank you, again, Janet!

The photo above can be found at

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