By Wendy Monro
"Never, never, never give in." Winston Churchill
Many months ago, an art exhibit called The Life Cube Project, created by Scott Cohen, was constructed in downtown Las Vegas.
A spaghetti squash bowl may not have magical powers, but it tastes good.
This project began in 2011 at Burning Man. Burning Man is an annual week-long art event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. The Life Cube Project provides opportunities for people to express themselves by showing their art on the cube. People who visit the cube can also write down their wishes and dreams and place them inside of the cube. Then, during a ceremony, the cube is lit on fire and all of the dream cards scatter into the breeze as tiny bits of ashes and dust.
I visited the cube three times and wished the same thing each time. My wish was for Daphne and Jack to get into Las Vegas Academy for the Performing Arts. One time, Mr. Cohen, or "Skeeter," came up to me and said, "You really should wish for something big because this cube is magical. Write down world peace or something like that."
On the night of the ceremony, we all went together as a family and watched the cube burn. It was a fun night with music and performances. You could feel the energy and enthusiasm. We watched fire dancers and bought glow sticks and necklaces. When the cube was lit on fire, "Come on Baby Light My Fire," by the Doors, played loudly. Everyone watched in silence and awe as the structure collapsed. You could see all of the tiny bits of paper wishes flying through the air like confetti. Hopes and dreams travelled through space. At the end, applause broke the silence. More music played and people hugged, smiled and danced.
Spaghetti Squash Bowl
Time: 45 minutes
1 spaghetti squash
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans
1 15 oz can sweet corn
2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 avocado, diced
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place spaghetti squash, flesh side down into an oven safe dish with an inch of water. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Once you can easily pierce the skin of the squash with a fork, it is finished. While the squash is baking, place the beans, corn, tomatoes and onion onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven about fifteen minutes after the squash has been cooking. Cook for about 15 minutes, until slightly browned. In a small bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix together to make guacamole. Take the squash out of the oven and spoon the flesh around a bit to create a space for the bean mixture to be placed. Spoon the bean mixture into the spaghetti squash bowl. Top with guacamole. Place on a plate and serve.
Several months later Daphne auditioned for theater and Jack auditioned for art at the Las Vegas Academy. We received the first notice. Jack did not qualify. I was shocked. I said to Claud, "But, I put it into the Life Cube." There had to be a mistake. I had complete faith that these wishes would come true. Several phone calls later, I discovered Jack was accepted but he had too many absences during his school year to qualify. Jack gave up and said, "Just forget it. I didn't make it." I kept fighting. One time he said, "Mom, quit giving me false hope." I continued to fight. Jack and I collected five letters of recommendation to turn in. Jack sent in photos of his commissioned art pieces. I made more phone calls, and finally got a face-to-face meeting with the principal. I brought the whole family. Jack was able to plead his case. Daphne, Claud and I all vouched for him and promised absences were a thing of the past. The principal agreed to give him a chance. Yes!
Meanwhile, Daphne received the notice that she was not accepted into theater. I wasn't surprised. I didn't understand why she auditioned for theater. Singing is definitely her thing. Daphne was devastated. Luckily, Las Vegas Academy allows students to audition for another major.
As the time approached to audition for vocals, Daphne doubted herself. We found out there were only two spots remaining in the school for this major. I had no doubt that one of those seats was for her. I said, "Daph, we all put this into the Life Cube. You will make it in." She rolled her eyes. She came down with a sore throat and a terrible cough the night before her audition. Still, I believed. I made her this spaghetti squash bowl and some hot tea. I tucked her into bed early and turned on her humidifier. I kissed her forehead and said, "Stop worrying, you will make it in."
She didn't want to go to the audition and tried to back out. I told her she didn't have a choice. It was one hour of her life and she could make it through. We left the audition listening to Daphne describe how she bombed. Two days later, we received the call that she made it in. Yippee!!
I am not saying that the Life Cube or this spaghetti squash bowl are magic. It never hurts to fill up with nutritious food when you aren't feeling well or are wrought with worry. A friend of mine sent me an anonymous quote, which reads, "Worry is a misuse of imagination." This is so true. Believing in something so whole-heartedly that no doubts enter your imagination can make things come true. Don't ever give up on your dreams. Fight for them. Never ever give in to doubt and worry. If you are good at this, teach others. Anything is possible.