Anyone who knows me knows I love New York. I don’t watch sports but I still consider myself a Yankees fan. I don’t think I’d like to live in a major city but I’d still visit NYC any chance I could get. Maybe I love New York because my grandparents immigrated from Puerto Rico to New York and lived there most of their life? Or maybe because my dad was born in Manhattan and raised in Queens and used to tell us stories of what it was like living in The Big Apple? I don’t know for sure why I love New York, but I do. Most likely it’s just the pizza (which is found in plenty on every street corner).
Last year my wife and I found great prices on a flight into LaGuardia Airport from Nashville for the first week of March 2019. And since I really can’t pass up a cheap trip to NYC we scooped up the tickets and began planning our trip. As it happened, I came across an article about a Tolkien exhibit featuring his original artwork and letters, AND it happened to be in New York at the Morgan Library & Museum! I looked up the dates and, sure enough, it would be showing when we’d be visiting! I was so excited!
We weren’t allowed to take photos in the exhibit, but even if we were, it still wouldn’t be enough to describe the remarkable experience it was to see, first-hand, the sketches, maps, and artwork of my greatest creative inspiration. One of the biggest takeaways from his life that applies directly to me involves his kids. Partly why The Lord of The Rings took as long as it did to write (12 years!) was because he only had so much time each day to work on it. The demands of life and career, his academic, social, and religious pursuits, and, of course, the raising of his children consumed much of his time—all of which he was unwilling or unable to sacrifice to write. But still…he wrote.
That really resounded with me. I have three jobs now, a wife, four kids, religious, academic, and social pursuits, not to mention trying to incorporate daily exercise and meditation, and a weekly religious study group! It’s a lot. But the same was true for Tolkien and certainly true for many other great creatives/creators. No excuses. The entire exhibit brought me so much joy and inspiration, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to see it. If you happen to be in NYC from now until May 12th, 2019, do yourself a favor and visit the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum.
We spent a lot of our trip just getting lost in the maze of skyscrapers, street vendors, and $1 pizza shops, but we also took a half a day to visit the American Museum of Natural History. We had no idea how vast this museum actually is; a half a day is a laughable amount of time to spend here. But this still turned out to be a highlight of the trip. We caught Neil deGrasse Tyson’s awe-inspiring planetarium presentation “Dark Universe”, walked endless corridors filled with creatures, skeletons, and more information than a lifetime can comprehend, and marveled at the history of the world and the creations that have inhabited it through the ages. So inspiring!
I came back from the trip exhausted, but very much inspired to create!