It's important to try new things. I'm somewhat of an expert at this. I've tried seven art forms, six sports, five languages and cooking. It is safe to say that I'm fairly horrible at all but one of these (hint: not cooking), but I'm better for having tried. In fact, I’m always on the lookout for the next thing I can be not very good at. Join me, won’t you?
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo is a New Englander, a pertinent fact because place is a character in all of his books. The Northeast, be it the Upstate New York of Bridge of Sighs or small-town Maine of Empire Falls, is Russo's muse. It's both the backdrop and crucible for his work, characterized by class, clapboard and intergenerational conflict. His newest, That Old Cape Magic, doesn't stray from the successful formula.
That Old Cape Magic focuses on middle-aged screenwriter-turned-professor Jack Griffin and his relationships with his wife and daughter. But it's his parents, appearing mostly through memory, who move the story's action. As East Coast intellectuals doomed (in their estimation) to suffer teaching college in the "Mid-fucking-west," Griffin's parents' snobbery and snarkiness leave him, as an adult, eager to be whatever and wherever they're not.
Several years ago, art therapist Janis Timm-Bottos was inspired when she learned about Depression-era “community art studios.” These studios were created in response to the economic hardships of the day and gave people a free place to come together and express themselves. In 2001, Timm-Bottos founded OFFCenter, an art studio that provides supplies and studio space at no cost to just about anyone who wants to create.