It has been awhile since I posted on a book that I’ve read. A couple of months ago, I finished My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme. I enjoyed living through Julia’s words from the 40s through the 60s, a time when both the world and her life changed greatly. My friends know that I’m an active reader, and often write in books, as well as turn pages over to mark interesting passages. So, what did I find interesting in Julia’s book?
- “The word is not the thing.” Borrowed from semanticist Alfred Korzybski, this was one of Julia’s husband’s favorite sayings. I’m a word geek, so this resonated with me. (As I typed that I used my OED subscription to make sure I knew the etymology of resonance.) This is a great saying to remind us that words aren’t sufficient often times in communication. One of the best things we did in the Innovation Lab was hire Anna Simmons to help us visualize our words, as an additional way of communicating between ourselves and with customers. I think designers are so lucky that they have this additional outlet to help express themselves!
- Ta-Da. When Julia finished her first book, she declared a “ta-da”. I’m a believer in “ta-das”. Just before I left Intuit, we had started using them in the Innovation Lab. One challenge working with high achievers is that they often forget to step back and realize their accomplishments. Usually when they solve a problem, rather than feeling proud, they are annoyed that it took them so long to figure it out… it all seems so clear once you know the answer. Our “ta-da” effort in the Lab was meant to make sure that we realized when we solved problems… and besides that it was fun!
- “I just walk away from it–fin!” When Julia decided to stop going to her house in France, her niece was having a tough time leaving the place. Her niece asked Julia if she was going to miss the house. Julia said, “I’ve always felt when I’m done with something, I just walk away from it–fin!” I have this same feeling as Julia. I have such an appreciation for my memories and how I’ve lived my life. From experience, I know things end; I don’t feel the need to dwell on their ending, but rather always celebrate their happening. As Julia said, “I will always have such wonderful memories of the [house];” I agree with her… I’ll always have the memories!
My thanks to Julia and Alex for a fun read… letting me share in some of those memories, and for giving me some examples and experiences for use in my life.
So, what is on my shirt today? Evan and I checked out, Cafe Indigo, a Vegan bakery in Concord, NH. We aren’t vegans, but we do try to eat healthy. Since we were going to the vegan cafe, I decided to wear the shirt I made for the launch of our organic shirts at Spreadshirt:
(and so is my shirt)
The shirt was a hit!