Committed: A Memoir Of The Artist's Road is a recently published book by Patrick Ross. He was good enough to send me a copy for review, but I was not quick to read it. That was no fault of the book. It's a very engaging book and frankly the depth of engagement was part of what slowed me down. I had to read the beautiful ending of section three dozens of times; some portions of the story called out to inner parts of me or my history and I took time (too long?) to reflect on those; and the copy I had was electronic which meant that I could never read it at one of my favorite reading times: right before bed. (Why? Because I don't bring large glowing screens into my bedroom.)
Inspiration For Your Creative Pursuits
If you just want a summary, I found this book to be an excellent inspiration for sticking with (or returning to) an art-committed life. I can recommend it simply on that basis. But that's a huge oversimplification.
Inspiration Along The Way
The opening of the book is a riveting story about Patrick interacting with his children and his parents. Interacting is an understatement. The scene is dramatic with lots of potential for things to go wrong. You need to read the book to learn the details though. I will tell you that this scene sets up lots of what comes later, notably that ending of section three.
Part of the external story in Committed is about Ross interviewing numerous artists on video for a D.C. lobby. He knows that many of the independent artists he's interviewing will not benefit from the legislation that the videos will be used to promote. Meanwhile, for the purposes of his own story, they will have quite a powerful influence.
Inspiration For Becoming Your Best Self
There are many potholes along the way and temptations along the roadside. Patrick is tempted to be pulled into some of the stories of the artists he videos or too many drinks at a roadside bar. Clearly, he also had other forces at work — dedication to his job, his family, and eventually his own creativity — that keep him on the path.
But the author of Committed does not let that remain a roadblock. Instead, some of the avenues in this book are about how he copes with and then (in significant ways) moves beyond just coping. As part of that “moving beyond”, he grows closer to his daughter, many of the artists that he interviews, and to his own creative pursuits.
Inspiration For An Art-Committed Life
In so many surprising ways, this book is a “self-discovery roadtrip” story. But that's a huge undersell. This is about a mature and vulnerable man who is reconnecting with an art-committed life in ways that are visceral, relational, and introspective.
Inspiration For What's Next
If you browse the recent posts on Patrick Ross' blog, you'll see that he's continuing to write about the process of creating this book. I encourage you to check out those posts, but even more to get your copy of Committed and read it faster than I did.
Full disclosure: I am mentioned in the author's acknowledgements of this book. So far as I know, the reasons for that mention are my on-line (blog comments and Twitter primarily) support of Patrick Ross' blogging that led up to this book being published. I benefit in no way (other than the contribution to the greater good) from sales of this book. And I have never met Patrick in person, though I look forward to that day even more now that I have read his memoir. There is also a mini-review by me of Patrick's book on Amazon.
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