The movement of music happens not in the notes themselves, but between the notes, in the silences” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Whitney Justesen by ©Joel Robison

Image © Joel Robison

An Interview with Whitney

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. One of my favorite birthdays was when I was at a summer camp with friends. Everyone sang to me, wrote me a really nice card, and one guy even carried me around to everywhere we went that day! It was such a fun birthday, and it even ended with a big dance party!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. One of my worst birthdays was when I was stuck at home, and I had to help my dad with his Real Estate work. We drove around looking at apartment buildings all day, and I didn’t even get a birthday dinner. It was kinda the worst day haha.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. I received tickets to a concert that I had wanted to go to for years! It was a really awesome concert, and I had a ton of fun.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. I always love to go to Brazilian restaurants on my birthday. I love all the different courses of meat, and the roasted pineapple especially! My favorite birthday dessert is a really good berry pie or my sister’s famous strawberry cake.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I think the most important way to spend your birthday is to be surrounded by the people you love–whether it’s your family or your closest friends. Birthdays are always better spent with good people that mean a lot to you.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. I think having a birthday cake is the most traditional birthday thing we do in the US–or maybe having a big birthday party. I think my birthdays are always a little less traditional than that.