What is The Monthly Creative Menu (MCM)?
The MCM is a curated list of cultural recommendations that I (Nathalie) have been sending at the beginning of each month since February 2014.
It is a highly subjective list of suggestions vs. truths. You can consult the Archives here.
Why the Monthly Creative Menu?
The first (conscious) reason why I started the MCM was because of my love to share with others the stories I have enjoyed. When I like an experience, I tend to talk about it to everybody, the only problem is that no everybody cares, and I realized that I was losing my energy and people’s time by doing it that way. So the Monthly Creative Menu started as a way to share with the people who do care about experiencing new stories.
The second reason is that I believe word of mouth to be the most powerful tool to help spread a story. I used to be a bookseller and I know first hand that each one of us can make a difference in a story’s life. So why leave that power to critics? The MCM is now my way to cheer for storytellers who have touched me one way or another and to amplify my word of mouth.
What Exactly Do You Mean By Cultural Recommendations?
Truth be told, what I mean by cultural recommendations is story recommendations.
And a story to me is any man-made creation that takes you on a emotional journey. It can be a film, a book, or a tv show, but it can also be a painting, a song, an exhibition, a concert, a museum, a poem, a podcast or a yoga teacher and so much more.
Writing this MCM for over a year has helped me realize that stories are truly everywhere, and what often makes the difference between an unforgettable or a forgettable experience is how well the story behind “it” was told.
It takes skills to tell a good story, some of those skills can be dissected academically, and some are part of something a bit more intangible. I seek out stories combining craftsmanship and magic.
So What You Share You Consider Masterpieces ?
First of, I am not qualified to determine what is or isn’t a masterpiece when it comes to current production. The only ones that will be to do that are our grand-grand-grand-grand children and those after them. Masterpieces survive Time. I will be dead by then.
I also believe that the X component in each story is Timing. I watched Home Alone 2 for the first time in theater when I was 9 years old, and it had a deep impact on me. I actually managed to get a life lesson out of it. Because it was the right Time for me to watch that film. Two years after, and it would have probably left no mark. This silly example is something I have experience over and over again, and I still do every time I open a book, push play or enter a creative space. Sometimes the timing is right, and sometimes it isn’t. Knowing when the timing is good to attack a story is an ‘art’ I enjoy and try to perfect.
I am not on a quest to demonstrate that I can spot “masterpieces” but rather to share a variety of stories with the hope that when the Time is right for you, you’ll remember they exist and enjoy discovering them.
Do You Talk About the Stories You Didn’t Like ?
I made a conscious decision to only share stories I have enjoyed. I want the MCM to be a positive space. I don’t need to be madly in love with the stories, but if a story is in the MCM, it means I would do it again.
There are a lot of reasons why I would not enjoy certain stories, from technical to personal. But my grid of analysis is specific to me, and if I feel comfortable planting a positive seed in people’s mind cheering for a story I have enjoyed, I also want to avoid planting negative seeds and shadow someone’s perception of a story they might very well have enjoyed it otherwise.
Being a story fabricator myself, I also know that there are actual human beings who tried their best to create something, even though their best is not my taste.
Being a human being, I do have the urge to criticize what I don’t like, I try to do so in a constructive way and to keep those criticisms for one-on-one conversations, when the power of word of mouth is much smaller and the space is appropriate to debate.
The MCM is all about amplifying the good, turning down the bad.
Still have questions? Email me, Nathalie, at firstname.lastname@example.org