I have a new hero: John Lithgow. He is an inspiration to a creative jack-of-all-trades.
Until recently, I knew John Lithgow for two things: Third Rock from the Sun and Harry and the Hendersons. But a while back, we discovered “The Remarkable Farkle McBride,” which is a truly great children’s book—a tour of the orchestra from a child prodigy who can’t commit to an instrument.
This is not your bread-and-butter children’s book. The rhymes are fresh and inventive, such that it takes a few readings before you get the pattern under your tongue, and the vocabulary is extremely sophisticated. Every page contains words like beseeching and rhapsodical; notwithstanding and rekindled; bombastic and forsaken. It works because the meaning is so clear from the context and from the pattern of the story (master an instrument, discard an instrument).
Then one day I happened upon the CD “Farkle and Friends” at the library, and discovered that he’s not just a musical aficionado but also a singer. Actor, musician, poet, storyteller—is there no end to this man’s talents? He gives me hope—that maybe spreading myself among all my creative interests isn’t a recipe for mediocrity, after all.