revisiting early 80s icons

This week I was pretty lucky to hear two women whose works left great impressions on me during my childhood. The first was Maya Lin, artist and architect, who is best known for designing the Vietnam Wall as an undergraduate student. And, the second was Judy Blume, the author of numerous best-selling children’s books such as Superfudge, Otherwise Known as Shelia The Great and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

I remember my first trip to Washington, DC involved a trip to the Vietnam Memorial with my dad and finding the names of people who knew that had died during the war. I loved the experience of holding the paper up to the cold granite wall and creating an etching of someone’s name. The memorial is so much a part of our nation’s cultural history because it works on so many levels regardless of who you are.

As part of the Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art, Maya Lin presented her work projects from the last ten years, which primarily focuses on art and architecture. She quickly squelched any questions related to monuments, especially her thoughts about DC’s most recent addition of the WWII Memorial. By the end of her presentation, it was clear to everyone that Lin is very passionate about the environment. She seems to content with her mix of projects and being able to take her time as she works through them at her own pace.

Last night, Henry and I attended the Annual Awards Dinner presented by the National Women’s Law Center. Henry was excited that we were about to witness Charlie Rose at work. However, I was even more thrilled to see his interviewee, Judy Blume. As a child, I read every book by her that I could find in both the school and town libraries. I probably read Superfudge five or six times. Same is true for Otherwise Known as Shelia The Great.

It was quite amazing to hear her talk about what it was like to just sit down and write. She was a young mother and she had a stack of paper and a typewriter. She just sat down and started typing. Out poured numerous stories that touched young adults all over the world. She shared feedback that she had received over the years. The voices that she created told her readers that they were not alone.

Here were two women who took a chance when they were young and put their ideas out into the world. From their creative breakthroughs, they were able to build a career doing exactly what they want to do. Congratulations to both for having the guts to try.

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  1. Renee

    You are so lucky to have seen Judy Blume. My book club will read “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” in February. I can’t wait!

  2. Anonymous

    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge..I just introduced them to Mo this past summer. He loves them and has said that Lenny is Fudge. Shaun loved talking to Henry! See you at Christmas?
    Love, Tissy

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