We could be fearless heroes on a personal quest: a film, a book and a death
This is the year of reading memoirs for me. Personal real-life stories are inspirational.
I finished 2015 reading Tim Winton’s Island: A memoir, followed by the former Irish President Mary Robinson’s Everybody Matters. Tim Winton always knew he wanted to be a writer, but Mary had planned to become a Catholic nun, following in her aunts’ footsteps. She became President of Ireland. Every path is personal and I am curious to find why and how we take the paths we do. [See blog 15 December]
ECO-WARRIORS ON A QUEST
When I read Stephen Romei’s [the Australian 9-10 January] review of Point Break, I wanted to see the movie for the theme of the heroic quest. It is a remake of a 1991 movie starring Keanu Reeves and appears to have cult status for many an eco-warrior, even though Romei doesn’t think much of the original. In the movie remake, there are many action shots of muscular, supremely fit, heavily tattooed men committing Robin Hood acts, stealing from the very rich to give to the poor, and spectacular acts of daring in raw Mother Nature. It is recommended not to follow their audacious surfing, trailbike riding, rock climbing, skydiving feats. Even if you know not fear, death will surely claim you before you complete the full eight requirements of the quest.
I have just finished reading Rory Stewart’s Occupational Hazards (Picador, 2006), a memoir of his time as a deputy governate coordinator in southern Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein. The blurb says that he then set up the Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Kabul and was its Director.
Rory who? What is he doing now? That is even more stunning. He has been a Professor at Harvard, and then returned to the UK, where he has been the Tory Member of Parliament for Cumbria since 2010. He is currently the Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs. See http://www.rorystewart.co.uk. Before his role in Iraq, Rory walked 6000 miles across Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. This journey is commemorated in his first book: The Places In Between. He had previously been with the British Foreign Service in Indonesia and Montenegro, Serbia, following a stint in the army Black Watch regiment, a tutor during summer for Princes Harry and William and a graduate of Oxford (Arts-Philosophy/Politics) and Eton. It has been suggested that Rory Stewart will be a future British Prime Minister. He is one to watch. Fearless, intellectual, adventurous.
Incidentally, Rory’s birthday is 3 January. Happy birthday!
CREATIVE INNOVATION QUEST
Another adventurous innovator in the field of music, David Bowie, turned 69 on 8 January, released a final farewell record ‘Dark Star’ and died of liver cancer two days later. A highly gifted and strong willed child, David Bowie, changed his family name from Jones to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees. His first foray into bands and song writing was met with limited success. Trained in theatre and mime, he added these aspects to his act and took on the persona of Ziggy Stardust. This brought fame, but nearly pushed him over the edge, and into oblivion in the early seventies. David Bowie cleaned up his act. His life has been a series of reinventions, dazzling the world with his colourful innovation. His legacy as one of the most outstanding and enduring performers for five decades will long be remembered.
LOCAL QUESTS FOR LOCAL HEROES
These acts are hard ones to follow. Our personal circumstances constrain how we might live. Most of us have to be content with our local community, and aspire to be local heroes within and for that community. We can reinvent ourselves in our local space. Check out the nominees and past winners for the Australian of the Year Local heroes category: http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/the-awards/award-categories/australias-local-hero.
Define your quest and go for it, even in your own backyard.That's more than good enough - that's great! We can do it together! Best wishes to all you heroes for 2016!
As a gentle provocateur of positive change,