There is something incredible happening in Central Tasmania.
Well actually there are quite a few incredible things, but there is one thing in particular that has me captivated. This is because it is a reminder of what can be achieved if use your gifts and dream a little dream.
Creator Greg Duncan is lovingly and patiently crafting a sculpture of epic proportions. And I really do mean epic.
Upon completion, ‘The Wall in the Wilderness’ will be over 100 metres long and three metres high. It is a carved wooden masterpiece comprising 100 panels weighing 250kg each, mostly from boat grade Huon Pine.
It is an ambitious project which was inspired by the natural beauty of the area, its complex history and the perseverance of the people including timber harvesters, miners and the Hydro Electric Scheme workers.
I know of no other venture like it anywhere in Australia (please correct me if necessary?).
It is being meticulously completed over the course of a decade – with the final panel scheduled to be in place by 2015. In the meantime, it is a marvel to view the creation come to life (check out http://www.thewalltasmania.com/wall.html for further information).
It is a massive undertaking requiring a lot of commitment and dedication. And shows what can be achieved when you focus on what you really love and combine it with a lot of hard work and determination.
Which got me thinking…
I live a double life. Perhaps even a triple life (if such a thing exists).
I also think many people reading this do as well.
To one I am wife, to some I am mother/daughter, to many I am friend and to others, work colleague and professional. Or “that girl I see at conferences that talks too much”.
But to those who know me well: perpetual dreamer and try hard poet.
I’ve thought a lot about these things recently. About how people view you, see you and how you make them feel.
I’ve also thought a lot about my creative side and where my passion really stems. And it always seems to keep coming back to those little notebooks I carried (still do) everywhere in school, college and uni, to fill with the unspoken poetry in my head.
I simply pick up a pen (or type) and suddenly everything makes sense. Expressionism can just drip off the pen onto the page without deadlines or structure. It is personal and passionate. And was a great source of therapy when I had depression.
But it is also lonely. I remember fellow students were somewhat quizzical with my expression of verse and passion in something that sounded so dreamy and fantastical. However, I was fortunate to meet a dear high school friend who steered me toward poets such as Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whose work left a lasting impression (thank you wherever you are Emma).
So what happened? I guess I never took a ‘hobby’ seriously and was lazy to the fact. Mistaking enjoyment for simple whimsy or a passing fad that (without really developing or trying) could never afford me a decent career.
So, I was a good girl – I went to Uni, I studied the next best thing to complement my skills (journalism and business), I got a job, I went back and got my masters and then I became a Mum. Hmmm.
I can now say I have a career. I can now say I pay the bills. I can now say I am a grown up.
But these things are not what I really want to “do” and how I want to be defined, nor should it be. For how many of us neglect a creative side?
This got me thinking about artists in general – how throughout history, the survival of the artist has been sadly based on contributions from the public, adoring fans or harsh critics, and perceptions around the value in their work.
I wonder how many of you out there wonder the same thing? Whose possible Picasso sized talents lie below the surface hidden beneath 9-5, until one day they are ready to be nurtured? I remember once a distant relative with an amazing voice being asked why he didn’t use it? The answer? “What’s the point?”
Well jeepers that’s depressing! Wouldn’t the world be a boring place without the contributions from artists? What if Beethoven had given up writing music because he was deaf and found it too hard? Or Monet had his first of many poor reviews and quit? History is defined by some of their greatest works and their successes were not without failures.
I’m not suggesting that not everyone is destined to be a Mozart. But it is a shame to think that any gifts given may be wasted without cultivating. Perhaps even the trying will lead you on a journey where you meet people that understand your passion and take you on a path you never thought possible.
We are lucky to live in a State with a vibrant arts culture – from fine arts, music and writers to actors and dancers. And it is only now I am starting to really appreciate the fact.
There exists dedicated souls that have persevered through skepticism, critics and objection to continue onto successes, paid or otherwise.
So why not give what you really love a go? It’s your life. It’s up to you.
And, if you want inspiration or to just appreciate an incredible feat, then make sure you visit, ‘The Wall in the Wilderness’.
It is motivation at its best.
The Wall, Central Tasmania