Cover image for And then we grew up : on creativity, potential, and the imperfect art of adulthood
And then we grew up : on creativity, potential, and the imperfect art of adulthood
Physical Description:
234 pages ; 20 cm.
Potential -- I was going to be an art monster instead -- On "making it" -- Never quit! (but maybe quit) -- Freedom's just another word -- Never compromise! (but definitely compromise) -- The kingdom of ordinary time -- I danced myself out of the womb -- The ghost ship that didn't carry us -- Coda.
Personal Subject:
Friedman was a serious violinist as a kid, but quit music in college. She never stopped fantasizing about what life would have been like if she hadn't put down her bow. Tracking down childhood friends from Interlochen Arts Camp, she questioned how their early creative ambitions translated into adult careers, relationships, and identities. Here she shares unexpected insights about creativity and contentment. --


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Book 921 FRIEDMAN 1 1
Book 921 FRIEDMAN 1 1

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Rachel Friedman was a serious violist as a kid. She quit music in college but never stopped fantasizing about what her life might be like if she had never put down her bow. Years later, a freelance writer in New York, she again finds herself struggling with her fantasy of an artist's life versus its much more complicated reality. In search of answers, she decides to track down her childhood friends from Interlochen, a prestigious arts camp she attended, full of aspiring actors, artists, dancers, and musicians, to find out how their early creative ambitions have translated into adult careers, relationships, and identities.

Rachel's conversations with these men and women spark nuanced revelations about creativity and being an artist- that it doesn't have to be all or nothing, that success isn't always linear, that sometimes it's okay to quit. And Then We Grew Up is for anyone who has given up a childhood dream and wondered "what-if?", for those who have aspired to do what they love and had doubts along the way, and for all whose careers fall somewhere between emerging and established. Warm, whip-smart, and insightful, it offers inspiration for finding creative fulfillment wherever we end up in life.

Author Notes

Rachel Friedman is the author of And Then We Grew Up and The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost . Her work has appeared in The Best Women's Travel Writing , The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals , The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction , and The Chronicle of Higher Education , among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her son.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Friedman (The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost) ponders the creative impulse in this insightful work. Starting at eight years old, Friedman attended summer camp at Interlochen Center for the Arts, a prestigious Michigan camp and school for young artists of all kinds, and was certain she'd have a career as a professional violist. But after a miserable year as a college music major, she decided to chart a new course. More than a decade later, a divorce and career anxieties as a freelance writer caused Friedman to wonder what her life would look like if she'd stuck with the viola. To dig deeper into concepts of potential, ambition, and art generally, Friedman reconnects with old friends from Interlochen. Including profiles of artists and former art students such as Jenna, who channeled her skills as a violinist into teaching music, and Dalia, who struggles to fit drawing and other artistic pursuits around her office job, Friedman ably illustrates many forms creativity can take. Friedman argues that there is both a "productivity-infused creativity" as well as creativity concerned with making everyday choices, such as choosing what one wears, eats, and reads. Anyone who's ever looked back longingly at an old passion and wondered what might have been will find an empathetic friend in Friedman. (Dec.)

Kirkus Review

A writer and former violist examines the delicate divide between giving up on a dream and moving forward.When she was 11, Friedman (The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure, 2011) attended summer camp at the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts, which "stokedan ambition to achieve musical greatness." Years later, she abandoned the musical path she'd thought would propel her to glory and turned to writing. Dismayed by her "failed potential," she interviewed her Interlochen classmates to learn where their ambitions led. Conversational anecdotes, memories, popular science, research on creativity, and a medley of quotes from Joan Didion, J.K. Rowling, and others form an intriguing, sometimes-indulgent exploration of talent and expectation. Why some people combine ability, luck, grit, and opportunity to break away from the pack while others quit remains unanswerable, but Friedman explores the topic with an appealing mix of trepidation and curiosity. Once a fan of the myth that true "art monsters" are single-minded individuals who sacrifice everything for the sake of mastery, the author encountered adults whose quieter pursuits challenged her conception of contentment. From a high school music teacher who balances creativity with family life to a scriptwriter who doesn't equate the time he spends working with what he gets in return to a dancer-turned-Pilates instructor, her classmates paint a mature alternative to the winner-take-all view of a fruitful life. Though they often dwell on self-criticism, Friedman's reflections on her own zigzagging journey are striking and raw. The author chronicles familiar doubts and daydreams on alternative futures with a bemused tone that changes over time. Sections on social media's tendency to fuel comparisons add tension to already heavy ideals. When the author finds that an ordinary life after a precocious start is fine, it's anticlimactic but palpably relieving.For creative types, Friedman takes the pressure off, redefining success in more ways than reaching the limelight. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

As a young adult, Friedman attended Michigan's Interlochen Arts Camp, known for its many talented alumni in music, dance, film, visual-arts, writing, and theater careers. She pursued viola performance with a passion. However, studying music in college, she found herself overwhelmed with anxiety. She switched majors and eventually pursued a writing career. In her thirties, she still felt like she hadn't made it as an artist, despite having published her memoir, The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost (2011). To better understand what she felt was the gap between her potential as a young musician and her life path, she decided to see what her friends from Interlochen were doing now. Some are in artistic careers, while others have transitioned into adjacent or completely different fields. Friedman's exploration is a thoughtful and fascinating look at how we define ourselves. What does fulfilling your potential really mean? Is hard work always everything? All readers who have wondered about their direction in life and their other possible futures will appreciate the illuminating And Then We Grew Up.--Laura Chanoux Copyright 2019 Booklist