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.