My daughter did something very sweet this year. She asked all of her parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunts to tell her the names of their favorite books. Then she started to read those books and opened conversations with each relative about the story. If you really want to get to know someone, finding out more about their taste in art is a great way to see into their soul and discover what really moves them.

So the next time you’re at a gathering of friends or family, skip the conversations about sports or politics or jobs and ask something that goes a bit deeper:

–What song always makes you want to dance?

–Did you ever have a break-up song?

–Which movie made you cry?

–If they made a movie about your life, who would play your mother?

–Which book have you read more than once and why?

–What was a book you thought you’d hate but wound up liking?

–Have you ever fallen asleep while attending a performance?

–Who’s the one performer you’ve always wanted to see in person?

–What’s your favorite thing to draw or doodle? Can you show me?

–If you could buy any piece of art in the world, what would it be?

–If you could have any talent in the world, what would it be?

–If you could produce one piece of art–any type of art–that would change the world, what it would it be?

Be open, of course, to wherever these conversations take you. Childhood memories may surface, old regrets may show their faces, an item may get added to a bucket list, a spontaneous sing-along or dance-off may ensue. If nothing else, you’ll likely feel a new bond to those around you, the kind of connection that only comes when we share deeply about the things that move us. Enjoy!

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