It is a well-appointed crowd that has turned out to hear an intimate conversation with Martha Stewart at the 92nd Street Y. The segment is part of the Y’s “Captains of Industry” program. The doyenne of domesticity appears on stage looking classically elegant in a black suit and pearls. It is a carefully-controlled production. No pictures allowed (drat!) and questions must be submitted to the moderator.
Immediately, Martha asks the host for permission to address the audience directly, and thanks us for coming out on such a cold and windy night. The talk covers her commitment to elder care and the Martha Stewart Center for Living, and new projects like a crafting encyclopedia, due out in March. During the hour, she proves to be compelling, crafty at dealing with tough questions, and at times, downright deliciously entertaining on a variety of topics:
On book sales: "People are still buying books, especially good "how-to" books."
On Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook: If you follow the book, you will become "a superb home cook."
On cooking and the economy: "People are cooking more at home."
On the 8:00 p.m. timing of the program at the Y: "I'm starving. This is an odd time for a talk. Have you eaten dinner?"
On getting things done: "I get up early and go to bed really late. Sleep is secondary or tertiary."
On the current stock price of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: "I used to be a captain of industry. Now I'm a lieutenant."
On Gawker: "A waste of time."
On the fate of magazines: "I don't think the world of paper is going to be dead for a while, but everyone is fighting for eyeballs."
On ways people are surviving the economy: "They're not going to the Bahamas, so they're crafting."
On her love of her pets: "My horses’ shoes cost more than mine, by far."
On things she would still like to do: "I haven't written my autobiography. Maybe I'll write a novel. My life has been pretty interesting. It would make a great novel."
On working hard: "I'll sweep the floor if it has to be swept."
On her loyal consumers and followers: "They know what they want, and I try to give it to them."
©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved
21 hours ago