Archives for October 2014

3Ws – Kevin Venardos

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What do you create?

I make Circus. That covers a lot of ground, but I don’t take credit for it all… just for seeing that it gets done well wherever that VENARDOS sign is hanging. It takes an army of talent to make a Circus. And for all the artists, props, rigging, equipment, music, light, choreography, design, marketing, blood, sweat and tears that go into taking an idea all the way to a real production that can actually touch the hearts of others… well, at the end of the day, there really is only one thing we make. Memories. But the really good ones stay with you, sometimes forever. Those are the memories I want to make for other people. I want to help break down walls with our little joyous operation, by showing others, just by our presence, that anything is possible if you work hard and you never, never, ever give up.

 

Why do you create?

If I knew the answer to that question, maybe I would have chosen an easier road. I’ll let my good friend Kermit the Frog answer it for me:

“Have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name. 
Just like the sweet song that calls the young sailor, 
The voice might be one and the same. 
And I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it. 
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.”

 

 

What do you consume?

Experience, in large quantities. Hours tuned in to NPR. The New York Times. When seeking inspiration for a new piece/act/video I consume LOTS of music. Music is probably my greatest source of inspiration. Inside that meter, I find order and structure that allows my creativity to blossom. Apples. Gala and Fuji are my favorites.

Links

Website: www.VenardosCircus.com

Twitter: @kevinvenardos

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kevin.venardos

Instagram: www.instagram.com/venardos

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kevinvenardos

 

3Ws – Ann Mah

Ann Mah credit Katia Grimmer-Laversanne

What do you create?

I write and I cook—both activities centered around food! I’ve written a food memoir called Mastering the Art of French Eating and a novel, Kitchen Chinese. Both books use food as a way to explore a new country. I also write food-centric travel articles and create recipes for my blog. Basically, my work is a giant excuse to travel around and eat.

 

Why do you create?

My husband is a diplomat and a month after we got married, we moved to Beijing, China. At first I was adrift—unemployed in a new place where I barely spoke the local language. But eventually I became fascinated with the regional cuisine of China and started researching and writing about it for a local expat magazine. Several years and a lot of hard work later, I’ve turned my enthusiasm into a career, writing about everything from traditional Chinese cheese, to aromatic tripe sausage in France. I love hunting down home cooks, chefs, and farmers to chat about their culinary traditions. But like most people who love to cook, I only feel like I’m doing my best work if I’m sharing it with others.

 

What do you consume?

On good days: French cheese, hot buttered toast, a big chunk of a fat novel (I just finished Life After Life and feel bereft), flamboyantly dramatic TV (like Nashville), beautiful travel photos, and red wine and massaged kale to balance out the cheese. On bad days: too much Internet, too much iced tea, frozen leftovers unidentifiable until defrosted, and/or the leftover macaroni and cheese my baby daughter is about to throw on the floor. I also love Top Chef, which can brighten any kind of day.

Links

Website: www.annmah.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnMahnet
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annmahauthor?filter=3
Instagram: http://instagram.com/annmahnet/

 

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3Ws – Jen Lancaster

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What do you create?

Professionally, I create what I hope are light, engaging reads.  I’ve written eight memoirs (despite having never pulled Chrysler out of bankruptcy) and three novels.  Thus far, seven of my books have hit the New York Times Best Seller List, which still feels surreal, particularly given the content.  For example, I wrote a weight loss memoir in which I didn’t actually lose any weight.  (However, Such a Pretty Fat did teach me to conduct a domain lookup, as I discovered the original title Pretty Fat linked to a big girl fetish site.)  Although I can’t imagine anyone will study my writing in a comparative lit class in 2114, right now, my work’s an excellent choice for airplanes, beaches, and anywhere else someone might need a laugh.

Personally, I’m perpetually monkeying around with something – whether it’s trying to arrange the perfect evergreen-based holiday tableau, refurbishing old furniture into something entirely fresh and new, or photographing dolls in a Twilight reenactment… because apparently I have a lot of free time on my hands when I’m not on deadline.

 

Why do you create?

I create because I can’t not create.  There’s never a point when both my hands and mind are idle.  I mean, I didn’t set out to be a writer – I simply had too many thoughts and feels about having been laid off that I was absolutely compelled to document it all.  That this ended up being my career?  Definitely a happy accident.  In retrospect, I feel like I’d have been better in the business world if I hadn’t been so busy mentally redecorating the conference rooms when I was stuck in boring meetings.

Plus, there’s such satisfaction in having created that it’s almost like an addiction.  I’m driven to find new forms of expression to perpetuate that high.  Sometimes it works, like how my furniture painting hobby turned into another line of business, and sometimes it doesn’t, like when commenters suggested I return to my job behind the perfume counter in response to the syndicated newspaper column I used to write.  Whether successful or not, I can’t stop chasing the creative dragon.

 

What do you consume?

The first thought to cross my mind here is – less.  I consume less now.  Last year, I had this big idea about recreating the Such a Pretty Fat experience.  I wanted a do-over because even though this memoir was considered a success (having spent a good portion of the debut summer on the Times list) I didn’t actually reach my goal of becoming thinner, which was sort of the whole point.

This time, I wanted to approach weight loss differently, looking at it more from a wellness perspective.  Sure, there’d be a Biggest-Loser-gym-rat component, but my theory was that if I approached weight loss from every aspect of wellness – not only physical, but also intellectual, environmental, social, spiritual, etc. – that I’d finally meet my goals.  Eventually, my editor and I decided to switch the focus to something less introspective, which is why I Regret Nothing (May, 2015) is more of a fun, bucket-list type-book.

I still decided to pursue the concept of wellness, not because I wanted word count, but because I needed to make healthy changes.  And I’ll be damned if my theory wasn’t right.  Because I concentrated on all aspects of wellness, I’m down forty very easy pounds so far, without ever writing a check to a personal trainer or sitting through a Weight Watchers meeting.  So, less.  I definitely consume less.

(Or was I supposed to answer about how I just can’t seem to quit The Real Housewives here?)

Links

Website: http://www.jennsylvania.com

Twitter: @altgeldshrugged

Facebook: AuthorJenLancaster

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