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Virtual Originality


It's starting to get ugly.

Not because we've been home for a while, but because our family has shared more of our perspectives on so many more things now that we have extra time and opportunity to do so. And no topic has gotten more attention than creativity.

First, there was a two-day debate on the skill of op-ed writers — their writing style, political agenda and downright inability to communicate without being degrading, unclear or lacking humor at this precarious time.

Then there was the streaming videos that can fill up hours, including my recent introduction to marble racing and marble Olympics (Yeah you read that right). Ingenious or insipid? And the choices of virtual religious services: some that use lots of visuals and brief readings while others screen-share the prayer book for a virtual read-along.

Before there was a shelter-in-place and pause in the land, I had a student who fought with me for nearly an hour regarding the grade she got on an advertising assignment. She seemed to be used to wearing down instructors until she got her way, obviously she never met a marketer like me who spent a professional lifetime defending her position. I justified my interpretation of her work element by element and she was stunned. "But that's so subjective," she cried.

"Of course it is," I acknowledged. "It's creative." The grade stood.

Finally, this past week, there was a unanimous winner of creativity and resourcefulness. The honor went to a fifth-grade student in a local student/teacher parade. My daughter was one of the many teachers who lined the sidewalk with social distancing by the school while parents and kids rode by with messages of caring and encouragement.

When she returned home from the experience she was carrying a cardboard and marker creation that captured the days before this virus and clearly the days ahead.

It read, "Life, Love, Lev" and "Thank you."

No, thank you.

A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.