Thursday, February 28, 2008

NY – Thursday, February 28, 2008

What I’m Reading: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

What I’m working on: I’m at a work conference so just getting in my 100 words a day.

New Words Today: 114

New York Day #2:
As I write this, it’s actually 1 am on Friday, not Thursday, but it’s Thursday’s post so that’s how it’s getting listed.

Obviously lots and lots of stuff went on today.

I got up with the awful alarm at 5:45 am for a 7 am breakfast. (Yummy!) The speaker at the breakfast meeting was Pat Basset – head of NAIS. He made a great speech, but seriously, it was 7 am, did you expect me to take notes?

By the time I’d had 3 cups of coffee and had made my way to Radio City Music Hall with 6000 other conference attendees, I’d woken up. I took great notes on Sir Ken Robinson’s speech about creativity (one of my passions in not only my personal life but in education, too). Check out the link above for a speech he gave at TED. He wrote a book called OUT OF OUR MINDS (LEARNING TO BE CREATIVE). I’ve got to get my hands on a copy. What a funny, engaging, brilliant man! He encouraged us to begin an age of educational renaissance. (Apparently, our current education system – in all its cumbersome dysfunction – is more like the period of enlightenment. We need a renaissance instead.) The key: creativity and imagination. Both are fundamental to culture and intellectual and emotional growth. Both are stifled in most schools. Damn. We HAVE to do better!

I listened to Karen Kasmauski speak about her photojournalistic investigation of global health. Beautiful, haunting pictures. Terrifying issues. (Go to her site and check out her photographs.)

However, the next speaker was BY FAR the best. I could have listed for hours to Ishmael Beah. He wrote A LONG WAY GONE. I bought a copy and had him sign it.

Ishmael was a boy soldier by the age of eleven in Sierra Leone. He was drugged and required to become a violent soldier after his family was destroyed. Through love and hope and sincere belief and a lot of time, he was eventually rehabilitated thanks to UNICEF. He wrote a brilliant book so that people can not only understand war’s devastating effects on children, but also because he wanted everyone to see that kids can come through some really tough things (the toughest!) and be okay as long as someone cares – genuinely – and is willing to take whatever time is needed to help. Human resilience is amazing. I was going to post some clips of interviews with him, but I can't choose which one. Go here and listen to them all.

Finally, tonight, Katrina and I met to see Peter Grimes (the opera) at Lincoln Center. It was beautiful (and long – over 3 hours). I love opera, but I’d never been to one like that before. First, it was in English. Second, it was a dark tragedy – completely different than, say, Carmen (my favorite opera). However, I enjoyed it immensely. I feel very cultural now.

Okay, I don’t have a 7 am breakfast tomorrow, but I would like to at least attempt to make it to an 8 am session – of course, I won’t weep if I don’t show up until Daniel Pink’s talk at 9:30.

Night all.



C. Alyson Love said...

It sounds like an amazing conference, Macy, and trip. I want to watch all the clips you linked to over the weekend because it's all related to stuff I'm very interested in. Have fun, and keep us posted:) I've only seen two operas ever, but they were amazing. My fave (although I'm clearly no expert) is La Boehme. You'll have to fill us in on Peter Grimes when you get back, oh cultured one. (wink.)