28 June 2015

"What I'm Reading" - 'Tracks' & 'Far from the Madding Crowd'

I've got two books I'm going to impose the recommendation of, associated links, and the conceptual connection for my own creative path that I'll expound on at the end, which leads into more art.

Currently, I've been delving into the fascinating, powerful, and much empathized with story of Robyn Davidson in her book 'Tracks', about her 'solo trek across 1,700 miles of Australian Outback in the 1977.

If you haven't heard of Robyn, or her National Geographic featured trek, perhaps you've seen the movie, or at least the trailer, for the adaptation of her book, so named 'Tracks', starring Australian native Mia Wasikowska.

There's some stunning vintage photojournalistic documentation of Robyn's journey taken by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan here

Check out the trailer for Tracks here


"The trip had never been billed in my mind as an adventure in the sense of something to be proved. And it struck me then that the most difficult thing had been the decision to act, the rest had been merely tenacity - and the fears were paper tigers. One really could do anything one had decided to do whether it were changing a job, moving to a new place, divorcing a husband or whatever, one really could act to change and control one's life; and the procedure, the process, was its own reward." -Tracks, by Robyn Davidson

I've also been getting into Thomas Hardy's epic 'Far from the Madding Crowd', which has been around for over 140 years, if that title sounds unfamiliar to you.

The lyricism and pastoral vision of Hardy's writing in his tale makes his intimacy with the land a central, defining character to all moods and moments throughout the story. I love that.

They've also come out with a new, fresh take in the May 2015 film version here

While vastly different, to the letter, the over-arching common theme here is the woman's story of development and independence, personal fortitude, unconventional character, and vision.

I'd say these are key themes, for myself, as well as in my creative pursuits.

Much of what drove my development out of childhood and into adulthood was rooted in wilderness training, working the land, seasonal survival education (with community as well as solo), travel, and the huge value of quality time alone. Not what you'd expect of an aspiring artist, always drawing from the age of three, no?

Well, as I've said before, communication and empathy are the infrastructure of successful story-telling art. I believe well-rounded experience in life creates a well-rounded, resourceful, empathetic artist; and this is certainly what I'm referencing when I cite my fifteen year background in ballet and other dance styles, primitive wilderness survival training and outdoor education, agricultural experience, care-taking and volunteer outreach, creative writing, and various mythological academia.

My professional, creative, freelance, and lifestyle goals are oriented around these interests from my background, certainly how they apply towards a better future - globally, environmentally, culturally, and personally.

Finding how we can apply our interests, diverse skill sets, and spherically expansive goals to our art work, for an income, is the hard part. And it is constantly changing, besides. No wonder we need strong stomachs for striking out into the unknown, in society. It's scary. It's...uncomfortable.

Growth, change, progress, it's all uncomfortable. If it were comfortable, it would be easy, and then nothing would get done.

That's enough of my waffling on for now.

What's inspiring you to move forwards in your work, your art, your life goals, your happiness?

More soon,
As always,


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