Visionary Imagination, as expressed in the work of William Blake, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley has given me a new way of seeing and understanding the world.
I’m an extremely private person so this is one time I will spill my deepest, darkest secrets: this semester has been incredibly hard for me. If all goes as planned (and hopefully it does!), this will be my last semester at ACU and the final push to the finish line has been very taxing. I suffer from terrible, crippling anxiety and it has almost debilitated me this semester. I didn’t make it to very many classes for any of my units, no matter how hard I tried to psych myself up and force myself to go. I became very sick just after the study break and it was the second time in three months this year that I have been sick and I am normally a very healthy person. These past few months have been rough on me, there’s no denying that. I’m not making excuses for myself, I’m simply being honest. In a funny way, I think that the works of William Blake, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley have given me various new understandings of the world, in the same way I hope I’m giving a bit of an understanding into my world.
William Blake was first off the rank this semester and he really is a most thoughtful poet! The issues he brings up in his work and the messages he tries to convey are still applicable and appreciated by audiences today. The way he perceives people is extraordinary and how he writes them is even more thought provoking (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/first-blog-2/). I find his influence on me at the strangest of times and lately, I find myself sitting in traffic watching people go by and I make up stories for them, wonder about their lives and who they are. Blake’s views on religion both challenged and reaffirmed mine (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/second-blog-3/). I am Catholic – I have been since I was born and I have no desire to change any of that – but Blake made me take a step back and rethink some things about the Church. He made me realise there is nothing wrong with not strictly conforming to organised religion and the status quo; that it’s OK to not check all the boxes of religion. However, where Blake absolutely took my breath away was his illustrations of the Book of Job (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/third-blog-3/). Those plates were the most thought provoking thing of Blake’s yet! The detail on them is absolutely exquisite and the emotions going through me was amazing.
Brett Whiteley strikes me as someone who lived life how he wanted and didn’t exactly care what others thought. His studio was completely off my radar so when we toured it, I had no idea what I was in for and I was positively blown away (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/third-blog-3/). He thought some things were funny, some were contemplative, inspiring, while other things just made him stop and pause for a moment. Whiteley is someone else who taught me that it’s fine to not follow the crowd and that to do things your way – to live life how you want to – is the way to go. I actually felt quite free looking at his works.
I briefly studied Patrick White in my first year so I thought I knew what he was about. How wrong I was as I discovered another side of Patrick White which I hadn’t before! He was another writer, I’ve found, to have a very unique perspective on people and to not judge a book by its cover (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/fourth-blog-3/). In Riders in the Chariot, we meet the characters of Alf Dubbo and Mordecai Himmelfarb. Alf is an Indigenous Australian and Mordecai is Jewish. Looking at them, you would never know just what they have been through in their lives. Alf was brought up by white people, not his own family and Mordecai is a Holocaust survivor, who lived through all the unimaginable horrors of the Second World War. Through these characters, I was reminded to get to know a person first before you judge them because what you see is not necessarily who they really are. Religion seemed to feature a lot this semester, as it came up again with White in Riders in the Chariot (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/fifth-blog-3/). Religion forms a great part of Alf and his experiences with religion play a very poignant part in Riders in the Chariot. He is disillusioned with Christianity from a young age, thanks to the actions of a minister, Mr Calderon, and then carves out his own path in the world but all the while, searching for a deeper and greater meaning in the world, rather like White himself (https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/sixth-blog-3/). Patrick White reminded me that religion may not necessarily be all it appears to be and to take it with a grain of salt because everyone is different and has different experiences with it. While I am Catholic and have never had a bad personal experience with it, there are countless others out there in the world who have so I cannot force my own opinions and experiences onto others.
The Visionary Imagination, shown to me by William Blake, Brett Whiteley and Patrick White, has definitely given me new ways of seeing the world. These writers and artists have shown me that there are other ways to living life instead of the conventional path you may be expected to follow. They showed me that it is perfectly acceptable to do things your own way but it is still vital that you remain a good person at heart and to not become jaded by your bad experiences but rather, you learn and grow from them like Alf in White’s Riders in the Chariot.
LINKS TO MY BLOGS:
Summative Entry: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/summative-entry-4/