Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Last Word on The Skinny

Today, I gave a 10 minute talk about The Skinny at a fund raiser for the RI Holocaust Education and Resource Center. My mom chaired the event, and there were two other speakers, Sophie Freud and Mary Jane Begin. Curt Columbus, artistic director of Providence's Trinity Repertory Company MCd. The luncheon was lovely. The mood was festive. Curt Columbus was thoughtful and kind of wonderful, Both Prof. Freud and Ms. Begin spoke about their work in ways that were both moving and inspiring. Freud spoke about her experiences during World War 2 and quoted from a letter from a woman she'd became close to in Casablanca, a woman who later died at Auschwitz. Mary Jane Begin told the story about how her story of the childhood friendship of the characters from the Wind in the Willows came to be. Her tale included birth, death, divorce and love.

Then there was me.

Don't get me wrong, I think everyone enjoyed my remarks. I got a few good laughs. But I was definitely the confection. I did urge everyone in the room not to confuse dress size with life satisfaction. Re-reading The Skinny last night, I was struck by how Melissa and I really focused on how eating does not have a moral valence. We are not good if we eat salad or bad if we have ice cream. We just are what we are and we should try to enjoy our meals. I tried to get that across in what I said today. I also said, "If you want the cookie, have the cookie." Which felt especially appropriate since I'd just had a big bowl of ice cream but had skipped the salmon.

Truthfully, I was a little nervous because I'm used to talking about The Skinny with Melissa, and she wasn't there. And many, many people I know and love were there, and it's hard to talk about a "food lifestyle" book to a room full of people who fed you as a child. And with Sigmund Freud's granddaughter sitting there, no less! But it was fun. When all was said and done, it was a lot of fun and I was really glad to have been able to be there. And, hats of to my mom, because it was a downright terrific afternoon. I may not ever urge a group of people to eat more fruits and vegetables again, but it was a perfect last hurrah.

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