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Lunch Break Creative: Tourist Edition

11 Jun

Working in an office environment can be stimulating and challenging: the day flies by when solving expense report mysteries like a corporate Nancy Drew. Sometimes though, I feel a tad stifled and in need of a little creative stimulation.  In my last post, I shared my personal mission statement, “live to create and serve” and resolved that I would find ways to incorporate creativity into my working life.

What could be more inspiring than a visit to the New York Public Library’s Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Gallery?

The current exhibition is Shelley’s Ghost:  The Afterlife of a Poet which focuses on writer Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and his second wife Mary, best known as the author of Frankenstein. The gallery is tiny, perhaps 200 square feet, making it the perfect size to tackle in less than 20 minutes.  Particularly enjoyable were Shelly’s notebooks, a necklace made of P.B. and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s hair, and a copy of “A Cat in Distress,” Percy Shelly’s earliest known poem.

The thoughtful design of the exhibition was another highlight, evoking a creepy, gothic feeling.

In addition to the ephemera locked behind the cases, are small takeaway note cards with various quotes from Shelley.

One card reads:

MUSIC when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory –

ODOURS, when sweet violtes sicken,

Live within the sense they quicken.

Shelly’s Ghost:  The Afterlife of a Poet
Now through Sunday, June 24, 2012
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
Cost:  Free

After enjoying the exhibition, I took some time to lollygag through Bryant Park, located directly behind the library on Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets.

Bryant Park boasts many wonders, one being an outdoor Reading Room with various books to borrow while sitting in the park.

Near the Reading Room, Istumbled upon a discussion of Jen Lancaster’s new book, Jeneration X hosted by In Her Shoes author Jennifer Weiner.

I thought, wait a second – there must be more events where this one came from!  And as soon as the thought popped into my head, a copy of the Bryant Park spring guide manifested before my eyes.  I snatched the precious pamphlet from the bored, teenaged attendant and realized that there is an author’s discussion every Wednesday at 12:30!  The series is titled, “Word for Word Author” and its purpose (according to the guide) is for “Bestselling authors [to] share tricks of the trade, answer questions, and sign copies of their latest books.” There is a similar program for poetry on Tuesdays at dusk (of course the poets have to be dramatic about it and have their program at sundown). On select Tuesdays at 12:30, the Reading Room hosts a book club of favorite Oxford University Press classics.  If you sign up early enough, a free copy of the book club selection can be yours.

Folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are also writer’s workshops, nonfiction discussions, and classic movie groups; and those are just the literary activities.  Other Bryant Park events include Yoga, Tai Chi, fencing, birding, juggling, beginner and intermediate language classes, and (be still my heart) knitting lessons. Not to be missed are both the world-famous HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, beginning on June 18th and my personal favorite, Broadway in Bryant Park, beginning on July 12th.  Did I mention that every single event is free?

Who could have known that so many engaging activities are waiting for us just outside the doors of our climate controlled, sterile offices?  Let’s try something inspiring and new.  Let’s get lunch break creative.

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