Friday, February 22, 2008

Things of Beauty

While living the demanding life of a central Texas criminal defense lawyer, I've often pondered my need to create something beautiful. I'm not sure if it's the creation or the beauty that intrigues me most. But for the busy defender of individual rights this desire is regrettably supplanted by court dockets, trial preparation, law practice management, and the tyranny of the urgent.

That's why the story of criminal defense lawyer, Shawn Askinosie, piqued my interest today. Shawn was (or is) a Missouri criminal defense lawyer who pursued his yearning to create something people can appreciate. Shawn lost his father to cancer at a young age and started Lost & Found, an organization that provides emotional support to children who have lost a family member and are working through the grieving process. But recently, Shawn opened his company, Askinosie Chocolate. In the Kansas City Star, this article chronicled the story:
But in two short years he [Askinosie] has built a chocolate factory and started selling his namesake single-origin, bean-to-bar chocolate to boutique customers scattered from San Francisco to Sweden.

Askinosie’s transformation from criminal defense lawyer to artisan chocolate maker has been every bit as trying as the series of high-profile murder cases that landed him on “Dateline NBC” and sparked death threats against his family.

For stress relief, Askinosie started grilling. Over the next few years he moved to baking, eventually becoming obsessed with cupcakes and chocolate desserts. Then, on his way to a funeral in 2005, he was struck by the idea of making chocolate from scratch.
Most of the time, lawyers are helping people control the damage of judgment gone awry or damage in the aftermath of tragedy. But I'm convinced we each have a deeply ingrained need to fashion things of beauty. Something we can step back from - admire - and cherish in the company of our best friends and loved-ones.

Shawn is seeking out his passion - a passion to create something others will love and appreciate. I hope each of us will seek out our own passion to create things of beauty - be it art, music, food, or whatever suits our fancy.

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