Friday, June 19, 2015
Stealth Artists and Authors
I shared this reflection with the Christian Writers Downunder blog readers some time ago, and thought I'd like to share it here too. Especially since we've been appreciating the ease of searching through different Wiki sites recently.
I visited Great Britain when I was a University student. It was a holiday with my parents, and we visited a countless number of breathtaking churches and cathedrals. The abundance of stonecraft and marble work amazed us. There were Biblical heroes with finely-honed facial expressions, and anatomical details, such as veins and Adam's apples, which we would never have imagined could be chipped into stone. A little creepier were the models on top of tombs and crypts of the people who lay beneath; kings, queens and statesmen staring up at us. What intrigued me most was that the quality of all these works of art was so incredibly high.
We all associate the Statue of David with its creator, Michelangelo, to the extent that both names are synonymous and recognised instantly all around the world. But these ancient British craftsmen, whose work had just as much of a Wow factor for me, remained anonymous. If we looked closely enough, we might have seen tiny initials etched into the clay or stone, but just as often we couldn't. It would seem these craftsmen were working solely for love of it, and to bring God glory. It was simply their calling. Being unacknowledged didn't seem to enter their heads or detract from the standard of their work.
I wondered whether writers would be equally happy to remain unnoticed, for even the most self-effacing author knows that his name will appear on the cover of his book, along with the title. Since I asked myself that question, excellent modern authors, who don't mind reminding anonymous, have been drawn to my attention everywhere.
My husband is a musician trying to build a repertoire of old songs, as he plays for senior citizens in nursing homes. He and I have been listening to the free Pandora radio station on our Ipad, especially interested to read the histories of the bands and solo artists who are being highlighted. There are pages and pages of well-written information, including great descriptions, fantastic imagery and impeccable research. Yet the authors don't sign their names to it. That made me think of the thousands of people who spend painstaking hours editing information on Wikipedia, not to earn a name for themselves but because they are passionate about the topics.
You might have heard about Stealth Gardeners. Their hobby is also known as Guerilla gardening. They creep out at night and beautify ugly patches of land and other eyesores, at the risk of being arrested for trespassing. Personally, I'd welcome them anytime they wanted to visit my place. I guess the Wiki editors and other people who write content for websites may consider themselves Stealth Writers.
I find these people a very encouraging example. When we're working at fulfilling our calling, there is no rule that says we always need our name connected to it? That's working in the wrong spirit. Those of us who have written books and articles may consider their examples. Some of our work may be more hidden, such as blog posts that disappear into cyberspace and book reviews which join hundreds of others. If we're tempted to skimp and not put as much TLC into these things as we do for our more visible work, perhaps we should consider our motivations. Whether we're writing novels, articles, blog posts or reviews, we could consider even our smaller bursts of writing as little geocaches, which may be discovered by anyone at any time.
Here's to big-hearted people everywhere, who are simply committed to making the world a more beautiful place, even if it's anonymously. Up above is a photo taken last week at the beach. The great work of art sitting beside me is a good example of what I'm talking about. Although the plaque is there near my feet, who bothers to stop and read plaques? Not me apparently, for I cannot tell you the name of this fun artist.