Creatively Serving

First, click here.

Now, envision yourself cooking a delicious meal. You wash the vegetables, peel, dice, sway to the music. Spinning expertly to get a new knife, you pull open the drawer, 1, 2, 3, pick it up, conduct the orchestra, close the drawer with your hip, spin, slide, resume chopping onions. Brown the meat, spice it up with thyme and lemon pepper, shake shake here, shake shake there, Oh fly me to the moon!

Or, if cooking doesn’t suit your fancy…

You’ve got a blank canvas before you, paints to your right, paper towels and water to your left, paintbrush in hand. Closing your eyes, you let the music paint a picture for you: an explosion of color, the voices of trombones and trumpets, lines and zig zags, the steady beat of the drums. You conduct the musicians with your brushstrokes. Dab, swirl, dot dot, loooong stroke, dab.

For me, part of the creative process involves music. From cooking, to painting, to writing, my concentration is aided by background rhythm and pure instrumentals. But not all creative processes are the same.

For instance, I know that when I paint with my friend Elissa on Friday, we will not be listening to my study session music! It’ll be something to get us through painting mural pieces for her senior project.

Which is actually what I wanted to talk about tonight (though music is cool too!).

Let me start by saying this: Part of being an art major or minor means putting together the equivalent of a senior thesis, but instead of it being a giant paper, it’s a gallery show, or in Elissa’s case, an instillation mural on York Road.

She and another friend of mine, Christine, have spent the past few months assembling the pieces of the mural and with the help of various friends have started to paint it. The mural itself is on six 5’4’ plywood boards that will be set up in the windows of the Verizon building.

Last week the Urban Art club helped prime the back of the boards so they wouldn’t warp.

This week, I’ll be helping paint the mural (can’t wait to break out my painting pants!)

I’m actually really excited to work on this, because 1) I love painting (on any scale) 2) I don’t often have time to do service, so it’s nice to have something that I can fit into my schedule for once 3) This will be me one day, so I’m gaining a new perspective in how to plan my future project.

But most of all, I’m looking forward to doing this because of the people. Working with fellow students on something like this adds a new dimension to your understanding of them and the people it will eventually affect. No matter what Elissa and I end up listening to, or talking about, when we paint, I know I’ll enjoy her company and the simple act of spreading color on a blank canvas.

The unveiling is on April 26 at 5 p.m. in front of the Verizon building.

2 thoughts on “Creatively Serving

  1. Dear Rory,

    I’ve read and enjoyed all your entries. Miles Davis, the great jazz musician, wrote that “a man’s a genius just to play himself.” You manage to be yourself in your writing, so I’m offering my congratulations, and my gratitude.

    My daughter is pretty sure that she’s coming to Loyola in the fall as a first-year student. Frankly, I was a little worried that the school might be a bit too preppy, too uppercrust homogenous for her. She’s not status conscious at all. She could care less about being put together or fashionable. It’s just not in her. On the other hand, she’s quite sociable, talkative, and quirky. She’s an actor, singer, knitter, swingdancer, and liberal. She’s a Jewish-Catholic Hispanic American. She thinks there will be a place for her at Loyola, and she was offered a hefty scholarship.

    When I read your story, I thought, “wow, Rory seems to be the kind of person with whom Rebeccah could connect.” So, here’s my question: did you adapt to Loyola immediately? Will a not very wealthy, quirky dauighter of an English professor from Western Pennsylvania feel good at Loyola, or will it always be a struggle?

    If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. We’re making our decision soon.

    Thanks and best wishes,


    • David,
      Wow! I want to first thank you for taking an interest and reading all my posts! It really means a lot, especially to get feedback like this!
      Second, I congratulate your daughter for being accepted to Loyola. I still remember getting my acceptance letter and breathing that sigh of relief and grinning for an hour after opening it!
      Your worries sound exactly like mine, too, before I got on campus at summer orientation. But, based on the description of your daughter (who sounds amazing and I’d love to meet her!), I think not only will she find and make a place here, but Loyola will help her to do so.
      Yes, when you walk around Loyola there is an air of “prep” and it seems that everyone blends together. And yes, I was uncomfortable with that for a while. But, as you get to know people and professors, you realize there’s more than the outside layer of perfect put-togetherness. I’ve had really deep conversations with students on both ends of the economic/social/religious spectrum, and have had my perspective changed or at least a new thought instilled in my memory.
      To your question of immediacy, the answer is no, and I think that’s a good thing. In some ways the transition from high school to college was immediate: you have to adapt to greater expectations from professors to maintain a good GPA. However, by not changing who I am or what I look like simply to fit in with the crowd, I stayed true to myself. I think the first few weeks were a bit tough in this regard, as I was getting used to living with 5 other girls, suddenly being in close proximity to guys a lot of the time, and simply absorbing everything going on on campus. I didn’t have much time to sit down and think about how I felt, and when I eventually did, I had already found/made my niche and was happy with it. Part of college is making it work for you: taking advantage of all it has to offer and shaping it to your own interests and needs. Loyola makes that possible, and encourages students to do so.
      So will it be a struggle? Yes and no. It’s going to be really tempting to buy Starbucks a little too often (that wears off by second semester, though), there will be days Rebeccah will say no to Iggy’s or Boulder because it’s cheaper to cook at home, and there will be moments when groups of girls in certain outfits go by and she’ll wonder if they looked at the weather forecast. All of that won’t matter after first semester (and it shouldn’t to begin with; we’re here to get an education) I’ve found that people are pretty accepting here, and quirkiness is definitely appreciated if not welcomed by some. The only hitch: it’s not always easy to find those people. Trust me, she will! But it won’t necessarily happen in her first class, her first day, or her first week.
      I just asked my roommate if I’m considered quirky, and she nodded her head very enthusiastically (I’m writing this while wearing rubber chicken earrings, a Kermit the frog shirt, mismatching neon socks, and I’m going to leave for knitting club in an hour).
      If you have any more questions, or will be on campus in the next few weeks and would like to meet to talk some more, please feel free to email me at

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