Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why you must see "Lost in Living"

It has taken me two weeks to write about Lost in Living here since a copy of the DVD arrived it in my mailbox.

I just haven’t been able to find the words to encompass my feelings about this remarkable documentary.

Still now I don’t know how to express my admiration and gratitude for it. The final film is even more wonderful than I expected it to be when I first heard from director Mary Trunk a couple of years back and watched the early footage she shared online.

Made over eight years, Lost in Living has been a labour of love for Mary, and the time and passion she's invested is evident. It is such a moving and profound document of the situation for mothers trying to maintain their work and their identity as artists.

It never ceases to amaze me how familiar and universal the issues are for creative women: the guilt and frustration, as well as the perspective and motivation, that comes with motherhood. The terrible feeling of being constantly torn in two... And what a comfort it is to hear other women describe the same feelings we all struggle with.

As Caren says: “I still don’t know how to make art without having time!”
Lost in Living features four utterly candid and down-to-earth artists: painter and mother of seven Marjorie Schlossman; prolific author Merrill Joan Gerber; and friends actor and filmmaker Kristina Robbins and visual artist Caren McCaleb.  

Together, these women offer great insights into the nature of creativity, the complexities of mothering and the intensity of friendship between women. It is fascinating to see the contrast between the experience of the two older women -- the isolation they have felt and the impact of that on their relationships -- and that of the two younger artists, whose barriers are more personal than societal.

There is nothing I can say here that could do this film justice or describe the power it had on me. Watching Lost in Living, I cried bucketloads. I've seen no other film so successfully investigate the fraught relationship between motherhood and art, and all I can do is urge you to do everything you can to get your hands on a copy.

While you wait for it to arrive, you can read this great interview with Mary about motherhood and the creative process.


Amanda said...

The Lost in Living trailer knocked me off my feet, so I can't imagine what the full film will do. My copy's in the mail and I can't wait to see it -- and now I can't wait to read your book, either...

Fellow author, artist, blogger and mother,

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,
Well, you managed this beautifully! Here's hoping there is a horde of people buying it...

Rachel Power said...

Thanks Amanda and Claire. Mary's told me that she's developed quite a rapport with the staff at her local post office thanks to sending off frequent packages to Australia, which is lovely to hear! You never make money from these huge projects, so I hope she's feeling the love and gratitude for all the work she's done. Always the ultimate reward.

Kim said...

It sounds really interesting, and I'm looking forward to watching it. I recently went to a talk with Kate Grenville and at one point she said:"It is possible to be a mother and make art." I had tears in my eyes, but I also just wanted to shout out, "How? Tell me how!". Time is the problem, and energy, but I know that writing and making art is at the very core of who I am and I'll find a way, somehow. xK

Sally Rippin said...

Beautiful post, Rach, and important to note that Mary Trunk was very inspired by your book that has been the well-tumbed bible for more artist mothers than I could possibly name. Like your book, I found Mary's doco so honest and heartfelt and there was so much I could relate to. So many lines jangled around in my head for days afterwards.
Kim, I'm assuming Kate Grenville's children are older now so it is possible for her to say this. Now that my children are getting older I can assure you it does get easier. Hang in there!

Mary Trunk said...

Thank you, Rachel, for your beautiful post and for your wonderful book. The love and support I am feeling right now is truly amazing. And I'm so grateful that people are resonating with my film. That means so much to me. I'm off to the post office this morning to mail a few DVD's to Australia! Thank you!!! And thank you to everyone who commented above. I so appreciate your support.

beth said...

I have watched the film once (with my husband) and we had such a great conversation about some of the things it raises. My husband is a creative person too and has found that fatherhood has really impacted on his work (and lack thereof!).
As you say Rachel, the care and time and love that's gone into the project are so evident. A heartfelt thank you to Mary and also the women and their families!!
I look forward to watching it again, this time with a couple of friends so we can discuss it in-depth. There is so much to unpack and think about within it.


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