"Is it true that life moves in cycles?" Renee was born in Manhattan-- at Harlem Hospital. And, now nearly 50 years later, she is presently living across the street from . . .. Harlem Hospital!! Between those bookends, she and her sister were raised by "wonderful parents." She went to school in Manhattan, finished graduate studies in Boston. She has a daughter (third generation of musicians!) and she is still at Pearson, an educational publisher, where she is a Supervising Editor. Pearson, said Renee, was the last stop after "a fine array of many publishing companies. It has been a great time." A wearer of many hats, Renee has a baking business at this website: www.lucillesdream.com
Can you please share how you made the journey from being a classical pianist to being an editor at Pearson? Can you tell us about the boons? The sacrifices, in terms of music/art?
The question suggests that there were two "journeys" as it were-- one as a pianist and the other as an editor. But, it is really a journey of parallel occurrences. I started studying piano at age three with my father -- he was a professional musician. He taught me those first notes on my little piano. From that beginning, I began the journey -- which still continues-- of studying, playing, and performing. I had a brief stint as a concert pianist and it was enough to ensure me that talent and soulful playing were not enough to guarantee steady income. But that was fine, while studying music, I was also immersed in reading-- I was and still am a voracious reader (add to that the compulsion to even read cereal boxes while eating breakfast!) and I wrote. Early on, before it was popular, I was writing in my journal and the highlight of my fourth grade was the production of my first play-- Mr. New York -- which had four assembly performances. I was a local celebrity. So my dual love for music and literature paved the way. It was a fine marriage and the result? Well, my first job at Alfred A. Knopf in New York City was a coup, so to speak. I worked with the Vice President of Advertising. She trained me to write jacket copy. I also had the opportunity to read and critique author submissions and I worked with the Music Editor writing and editing. . . . books on music theory. Bliss!!! Today, I still play the piano (my neighbors are especially gracious-- an evening without practice has been followed the next morning with a note beneath my door asking, "what happened to Brahms last night?" I write and develop textbooks (seven years of that was specifically music theory and music education texts), and I continue to read, read, read.
How have you managed to keep alive your creativity with such a demanding schedule for more than 30 years?
That comes without effort. I am not aware of actively "keeping creativity alive." I just do what I love and, as I pointed out before, I have my ongoing interests and in 2006, I added a baking venue to the roster. So, now, as many of my friends point out, I have two full-time jobs. Yes, it is work and time consuming but I don't see it that way-- most of the time. I admit I do thrive on intense activity. I seem to pull from a bottomless source of energy. Sure, there are moments when weariness kicks in, but I still cling to that silver lining--the joy that I will bring to customers as they take that first bite of a vegan cake. Often, there is a moment of silence and then the inevitable response of "What!!!! this is vegan????? Wow!!! It doesn't taste like it!"
It's wonderful-- working with different ingredients to hit that perfect blend that will boost flavor and yet work within the confines of what "vegan" is in the culinary world. By the same token, when I play a sonata or concerto that I love or when I share the subtleties of a book with book club members or friends, it is just as warming and exciting. I guess it is the sharing-- and the full meaning of that which fulfills my heart. And, after all these years (geez-- more than 30 years?) I am just happy I still have a curious mind (and a functioning one!) and a willing spirit and body!
What direction do you see yourself going in at this juncture? What do you feel you need most to support that direction? What do you feel most confident about as you embark on it?
The direction will be to continue baking. I have had some offers to start a brick and mortar location but I am content at this point to just be the "supplier." I love the "simplicity," as it were, of creating recipes and baking. I have recently thrown some gluten-free delights into the mix. There are just so many palates to satisfy these days. And, it goes without saying, that I will continue to pursue past creative loves.
Beverly and Renee Beach