I put down my book yesterday (reluctantly) and went to the movies. Jon Favreau wrote, directed and acted in a movie that is being touted by critics and movie goers alike. In the movie, Chef, Favreau plays a chef whose creativity is being stifled by the restaurant owner played by Dustin Hoffman. A restaurant critic pans the chef, and he goes ballistic. What follows is a look at a man trying to recapture his visions and his relationship with his ten year old son. The movie is a good one ( hint: DO NOT GO HUNGRY ) with amazing food scenes, but for me it verified something else. At one point Chef Casper loses it and admits to the critic ( played perfectly by Oliver Platt ) that he was hurt by the nasty review. Chefs put their heart in their offerings, often working eighteen hour days to make sure their customers are given amazing food. Granted it doesn't always work, but to be panned by a man who eats for a living is difficult to take. Restaurants are made or broken by critics who often forget the person behind the meal.
People question why my reviews are never terribly negative. I am asked if I ever read a book I didn't like. I often read books (or stop reading books) that I don't enjoy. No author can capture every reader, and some should probably find another profession. That being said, every author puts his/her heart (and an insane amount of hours) into his/her book, and the fact that I didn't like it doesn't somehow lessen its importance to the author. So I chose to not review books I don't like. Those I review are generally those that captured me and make me want to share them with my friends. I simply don't have the heart to tell all of my readers that the hundreds of hours an author put into a book were a waste of time.
Time means a great deal to me these days. A good friend of mine died suddenly several months ago, and I was reminded once again how important it is to enjoy every minute that is given to me. As much as I loved my teaching career, I am happy to have time for myself right now. Sitting by the lake and watching the wildlife, taking long walks with hubby Arthur or short walks with six year old Olivia, or curling up on the couch with my mini iPad filled with books makes each day a special day. My gift to you all this week isn't a book, it is a suggestion. Make a list of the people, places and things that make you the happiest, and make sure that they become the focal points of your life. Go kiss your spouse, play with your kids, visit your parents and hang out with your friends. I promise that you will never look back and regret any of that time spent. Then, of course, read a book!!!