Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Extraordinary ordinary Jacques Pepin

Okay, I am sick.  That is not good.  It is preventing me from spinning ahead.  And, then, there is the relentless sound from the workmen who are drilling into the exterior of my building.  They have gone out for lunch for a bit and so there is a blissful silence.  My nose is running, I feel like my head is in a bushel basket and I am sneezing.  Oh well, enough about that...

Last night I had the opportunity to go to the French House at Columbia U and hear a conversation with Jacques Pepin, who is one of my favorite people in the world.  I read his autobiography, The Apprentice, a year ago and found him to be just as gracious and upbeat in person as he is as a writer.  He is the embodiment of "a good fit" because he found his passion early on during his childhood, and just dove in with that passion as his rudder.  His life has certainly not been a bed of roses but it has been quite remarkable.  The program has been on my mind all night and throughout the day, today.  I find today, for myself, there is too much going on and no one passion or purpose leading me through the day.  AND THAT FEELS BAD...

He spoke about the different paths a chef could take--technician, artist, food lover, etc., and how each of those things were fine but it was the "love" that made it extraordinary.  That is why it is important to know why one is doing something.  It is simple, but it is also very, very powerful.

I think of extraordinary people, and in very few cases were or are they people with skills or talents that I cannot say I have.  The difference really is the "why".  Making money can be one goal because money is a tool that affords choices, and our culture greatly values money.  Being considered smart with the degree or grades to back that up is also highly valued.  However, I have also known people who do something because they enjoy it or are good at it, and they seem satisfied and happy.  They are not extraordinary, but what they put out there is.

So, back to my disorganized, messy table and life.  WHY HAVE I CREATED THESE GAMES AND WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THEM?  The first question is not tough to answer.  I create.  I spent a number of years keeping others' creations organized or maintained, but I have no desire to do that anymore.  Home schooling and having children taught me that creating, for me, if the right road. I like helping others come up with answers, choices and options.  Isn't that all about creating?

But,  WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THEM?  Now, there is a question.  The answer to this question means wading out into the world, and trying to make these creations work.  It means dealing with other people's goals and priorities.  I now know why some people choose to be authors, all holed up in their work place with their blank pages, and selves to wrestle with.  I guess this is the question I am going to wrestle with for a while.

I truly believe that going to college is a good choice for some people; it was a great choice for me.  Going to college was much more than the academics--it was stepping onto an entirely different plain.  I learned to think and experience and create, and became a more evolved person.  Would that have gone better if I had had a leg up on some of the situations I faced?  Yes.  Would that have changed my journey?  I do not know--none of us know.  But, having a chance to try out things before one has to do them does free up energy and skill that one can use elsewhere.

So, I am a game designer in search of players for the moment.  And, I think what I do will grow into even more interesting places.

I wonder if Jacques Pepin thought about what would happen when he was 13 and starting on his journey, or if he just jumped in headlong and searched daily for the love that has made his ordinary life extraordinary?

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