Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lost in Living: A new doco about art and motherhood

Yesterday I got one of those messages in my inbox that makes your heart skip a little beat.

It was a message from American filmmaker Mary Trunk, telling me that my book, The Divided Heart, played a part in helping her develop her now almost completed documentary feature, Lost In Living, which tracks the lives of four women artists.

To cut a long story short, I'll share her words below:

I have spent the last seven years following four mothers who are artists. Two of them I met when they were pregnant (they also happen to be best friends) and the other two are older and have adult children. During this long and fascinating process I was given your book "The Divided Heart", which I found so powerful and moving. I have since been following your blog, which I thoroughly enjoy. Your book is incredibly inspiring and insightful. It helped me figure out the approach to my film, the interview questions over the seven years I documented these women and confirmed that I wasn't completely crazy to make a film about this topic. Thank you!

Going by the initial footage she has released, it is clear that Mary has captured something very raw and honest in her subjects -- with regards to art and mothering, but also female friendship.

As I have since told her, it never ceases to amaze me how common the issues are for women artists -- how the same feelings get expressed time and again, often with the exact same words. I also fully relate to her fear that it might be crazy to document this topic, when so many people tell you it's just a "niche" subject without any great import for the world at large.

It is humbling to know that The Divided Heart has reached the other side of the world and played even a small part in Mary's film.

As she continues through post-production, she is posting short clips on YouTube and her blog, touching on subjects like "What's so great about creativity?" or "Baby and sacrifice: what do you give up?".

I will endeavour to keep you posted about possible screenings of "Lost in Living" here in Australia. Till then, you can watch an extended trailer below:


Elisabeth said...

This is such exciting stuff, Rachel. It's wonderful that you and Mary have collaborated in this way, behind the scenes as it were, and her film clip is mesmerising.

If only we could talk more about our creative processes as women. If only there were more of a sense of its validity. I know I still get canned for wanting to lock myself away hour after hour to write and my loved ones still protest. But how else can I write?

Thanks Rachel for an inspiring post.

Lia Ferreira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lia Ferreira said...

Thank you so, so much!
Your voice has reached the other side of the planet too (Portugal, western Europe)!
I've been reading your blog for a few months now and sometimes I link it on my posts on my blog (actually, I have two, at the moment) when I write about these struggles with the feeling that almost nobody understands me (and sometimes I even get unfriendly anonymous comments that I simply don't post) and today I felt so gratified and so thankful as I looked at those vídeos of "Lost In Living"... I had to thank you both! And I promise I'll raise my own few dollars to help support the movie (as soon as I can, as things are very difficult here in Portugal, besides the effort of being a lone mother of two and an artist!... but I will!)
Thank you!

Mary Trunk said...

Rachel!! Thank you so much for writing such kind and lovely words. And for posting the trailer, etc. I truly appreciate it and I look forward to more dialogue. "Collaborating behind the scenes.." I like that! Thank you!!! Warmly, Mary

Rachel Power said...

Families can feel very confronted when their mother -- their emotional anchor -- wants to shut herself away to do something that does not involve them. It is much more traditional, therefore sanctioned/'normal' for men to do this, but woman's need for a creative outlet can feel far more threatening for her loved ones.
That's what makes it so hard for women to hold tight to this need. So the more we can support each other in this -- and also demystify the creative act -- the better.
That's why your film is so important, Mary! This is a universal issue for women artists -- and all women with passions beyond as well as within the domestic -- hence reaching you in Portugal, Lia! How great to discover your blog.
And while I'm at it, thank you as always for the thoughtful comments you leave on my blog, Elisabeth. I always appreciate your insights. Xx

Unknown said...

The reference of holding the tent during a wind storm at Burning Man was the best metaphor to so many things -- loved this trailer -- I hope they keep up the great work.

Christine McCombe said...

There were quite a few raw nerves touched in the trailer, so many things I related to. It is that guilt-ridden tension between feeling that you are somehow being a sub-standard mother because you are compelled to hide from your children to work AND the realisation that doing your art makes you feel like a happier, more whole person - and therefore a BETTER mother. The old midwives had it right - what's good for the mother is good for the child - even if it is not immediately apparent!
Thanks again Rachel for another inspiring post.

Chicane Champagne said...

Rachel - I give your book to every artist mother I know. That means your book has been well read in Spain, England, Far North Queensland and New York City. Don't underestimate the power of the work you have produced. It has traveled far and wide passing through the hands and minds of many. It is the only thing out there to speak directly to a fairly substantial section of the mothering population, you've given them a voice and an outlet and now with Mary's film that voice will become even stronger. Rock on Mumas!

Damon Young said...

Excellent - nicely done Rachel and Mary.

It's not only mothers who relate to this...

Jill in a Box said...

Congratulations Rachel! How fantastic. And fabulous work, Mary. Can't wait to see the whole doco.

Jill in a Box said...

I just have to add that Mary's film - even though I have only seen the trailer - shows one of the most astonishingly beautiful and truthful portraits of female friendship that I have seen on screen.

amanda said...

Congratulations...how lovely to be such an inspiration for a moving film, one that reflects on mothering, friendship, and the journey we take before and after the babies. I love that these are shared, common and validated by this film, your book and all of the comments that follow!

Rachel Power said...

Thanks you all for those very affirming comments.
When I first saw that Mary had used close friends in her film, I have to admit I wondered if that would water down the focus -- until I saw those women on camera: both so gutsy and forthright. Not only does it make for an fascinating contrast -- in terms of how each chooses to parent and to approach their work -- but it does make for a very intense portrait of female friendship. I love the way they take over sometimes, asking each other questions to help get to the nub of things, which is something women are so good at (working out how they feel through discussion). Can't wait to see this film in full!

Sally Rippin said...

Oh, their friendship is so moving. What a beautiful documentary inspired by your wonderful book, Rach. You see: it lives on and on...
In fact someone was interviewing me the other day and referred to 'The Rachel Power' project. How very proud I was to be able to tell her you were my friend. :-) xxx

Rachel Power said...

You're so sweet Sally. It's your book too remember! xx

Red Hen (dette) said...

Fantastic! Obviously this issue is similar for women everywhere and I know you focus particularly on the atist aspect- and I have to agree with the lady who said it keeps her sane, it is quite a need as much as breathing and without art in my life I have become lost and very depressed but I think that many women can relate to the pull of parenting and the thing that makes them them, I suppose if you are a sportswoman who want's to train seriously or whatever pursuit you wish to pasionatley pursue the pull between this and mothering is present, so I really think this is not a 'niche' issue, I think many women would see links to their own lives.
What I loved most about this film (appart from the little one drinking from the dog bowl) was the friendship aspect. I think is is so important to have friendships of unconditional love, that nurture your creativity - I am lucky to have such a friend she encourages me and admires me and helps me focus on what I have achieved when I sometimes focus on what I haven't.
I'm looking forward to hearing more about the film. Thanks Rachel.

Anonymous said...

Rachel, I only came across your blog today, after finishing your book a few days ago! The book was amazing!
I watched the trailer for Lost In Living... i can't wait to see it... there were many things that spoke to me and i cried... ofcourse i did... thanks for putting your readers onto the film!
I am looking forward to following this blog and hearing more about Mary's film!
Cheers, Siobhan