Surviving Desolation: Two Artists

This morning, in between the second or third hit of the snooze button on our alarm, I had a dream that my husband and I ran into a friend that we’ve not seen in a few years. “Kate!” our friend Jim said, “Did you check out that video I sent you? Isn’t it wonderful?” Of course, off to the computer I skipped.

Indeed, I’d not looked at a video he had sent quite a while ago. Before looking at what Jim had sent, “by chance,” I stumbled on an equally interesting story that was right up my friend’s alley of intrigue. Some say that “there are no accidents.”

I’d like to share links with you to both stories, but I’ll warn you, I’ve been reading up on both of these guys for almost two hours, and could read more. It’s that interesting.

Assuming time only allows you a few minutes, I’d recommend at least looking at the first video that I will link you in each of these inspirational stories of men who survive desolation by connecting to others with their art.

Ara : Photographer and Chef

“It always strikes me, and it is very peculiar, that when we see the image of indescribably and unutterable desolation – loneliness, of poverty and misery, the end of all thing, or their extreme – then rises in our mind the thought of God.”

~ Vincent Van Gogh, painter

Though I admit to having my assumption that the hot, dusty parts of America are God forsaken, I am glad to be proven wrong. I was looking at photographs on Alive Now, and found myself drawn into the story and art of a fellow named Ara. Following the loss of his son to cancer, Ara and his dog named Spirit set out on a journey by motorcycle. This effort toward healing and reconciliation is chronicled on his website name The Oasis of My Soul. I find this site and fellow so interesting! His combination of photos, journalism and links to recipes are hopeful and bright.

If you only have a few minutes, don’t miss this video, it’s only 2 ½ minutes long.

If you want to see more of Ara’s photos, click HERE.

If you want to know more about Ara’s One Pan Recipes, click HERE.

Much peace on your travels Ara and Spirit,

Kate (and her dogs Lenny and Paul)

Doug Smith: Piano Player

“My desolation does begin to make a better life.”

~William Shakespeare, Writer

I mentioned that my husband and I haven’t seen this friend in a few years. One of the last times I did visit with him, he flopped down at the table I was at and said “Look at this, isn’t it beautiful!” It was photographs of men wrestling cattle in Texas, where our friend was moving. I tried not to snarl, but I don’t think I did a swell job at hiding my disdain. Wow! Do I stand corrected, as this video that he sent me is simply the loveliest thing that I have seen in a very, very long time.

It is embedded in the website of piano player Doug Smith, a Texan whose life career as a musician was nearly ended by paralysis that resulted from a car accident a few years ago. The video, amazingly, is his first composition since his accident. The accompanying photography is incredible. Check out the VIDEO.

I found myself wanting to read more on this fellow, and found links to a great article that includes two video clips where Doug explains why he considers his paralysis a blessing. If you want to check them out, click HERE. I also found a link to what looks like a great documentary of his development as an artist. See what you think by clicking HERE.

I think what inspires me the most about what I saw and read of this man’s story, is that by being true to his creative voice, even after the accident, his life is saved even more significantly than the neurosurgery that initially kept him from death. What is more, by sharing his joy, strangers and friends alike, get a window seat view to the truth which is that God wants us to experience life, no matter how dark, bright, soft or prickly.

Prayers for continued healing Doug,