Thursday, September 18, 2014
A tribute to Stealth Authors and Artists
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 stone craft 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 the incredibly high quality of these works of art.
We all associate the Statue of David with its creator, Michelangelo, to the extent that both names are paired together instantly all around the world. But these long ago British craftsmen, whose work had just as much of a Wow factor for me, remain 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 the artists 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. They make 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 such an encouraging example. When we're working at fulfilling our calling, there is no rule that says we always need our name connected to it? If that's necessary, we may be working in the wrong spirit. Those of us who have written books and articles may consider their anonymous examples. Some of our work, although not completely secret, 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. Even our smaller bursts of writing may be little geocaches, which may be discovered by anyone at any time.
I take my hat off to big-hearted people everywhere, who are simply committed to making the world a more beautiful place through their passions, even if it's anonymously. Just below is a photo taken last week at the beach. The 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 the fun artist, but I enjoyed his (or her) input.
Paula Vince is a South Australian author of contemporary, inspirational fiction. She lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, with its four distinct seasons, and loves to use her environment as settings for her stories. Her novel, 'Picking up the Pieces' won the religious fiction section of the International Book Awards in 2011, and 'Best Forgotten' was winner of the CALEB prize the same year. She is also one of the four authors of 'The Greenfield Legacy', Australia's first and only collaborated Christian novel. Her most recent novel, 'Imogen's Chance' was published April 2014. For more of Paula's reflections, please visit her blog, It Just Occurred to Me. You may also like to visit her book review blog, The Vince Review where she also interviews other authors.