It would seem that a successful trajectory would not accommodate the concept of anonymity. Perhaps a more realistic journey would be a quiet, simple start concluding with a bang of fame. But, what if what is meant to be is the opposite: not the desire for an upward climb to accolades and prestige, but an eventual understanding that it’s in the anonymous where the true work is done.
Two things come to mind. That’s just an expressive cop out for not making the grade. And probably more significantly, anonymous was an efficient way to malign the success of the oppressed. It has been said that anonymous was a woman.
Even given these two plausible and relevant cues, what if the glory is in the quiet. What if the praise and gentle glow comes not from being known, but from doing, with the resulting satisfaction being ingested by a few, and celebrated by fewer. Could that be enough? Many would argue Yes. My life is full, in balance.
So maybe enough, but preferable? Let’s suppose the answer to that is yes as well. Let’s suppose that true glory comes from it. What is true glory? Perhaps it’s a passing on of an idea, motive, instinct that not only says something that resonates, but alters the face of art’s reflection. We all know that many artists – some of the greatest- lived out their days in anonymity, some even ridiculed, ending their lives in disgrace– both of mind and financial state. And now their work lives on centuries later. Is that the real test? Maybe not. There are many gifted people, who live famous lives making miraculous contributions.
But, what if the goal was to wash yourself from the temporal landscape so that the colors around you become more vibrant. A tricky proposition for the disadvantaged and discriminated against. It sounds too much like being irrelevant, less than, especially for women, and particularly women of color – a dangerous proposition. For reference, see any analogy of true power depicted in films as the gift of “being invisible”. What? Well, maybe if we lived in a utopia or maybe on some philosophical plain of existence. But, in the current day to day, it’s nothing more than an opportunity to further repress and/or oppress. Unless…
Unless there is an alternative. A force calling you to forge ahead and blend into the fold, allowing you to carry the mission out with deeply rooted power. Possible? Probably. Maybe even most definitely. It’s a different road, for sure. It’s not the counting of likes on a post, or shares on a blog. It’s not the name game, name dropping life. It really has no menu to draw from.
It’s a type of life that calls you inward. A life that demands that you are second to the greater good of matter. A life that expects you to resent it in some way.
I believe the art is in the process, not as much reserved for the result. It’s the day in and day out of collaboration that forms the bound, that gels the sculpting. It doesn’t always have to be gentle, comfortable, but I think it should be kind. Courageous and Kind. A beautiful message in Kenneth Branagh’s very traditional re-telling of Cinderella. A different sort of power. Not a kill them with kindness, but love them into life. Ultimately Cinderella is rewarded for her sacrifice. But maybe that’s not true for all who live in the world of now.
The Film Creed offers a similar message. Not only is it well executed, written, directed, and acted, but it is a solid and superiorly produced film. And at the core, a beautiful love letter to Rocky: to the character that fought from being a nobody, to a somebody, only to shrink again back into a common life. Creed forces him out again, but his role is quite and quietly different. It’s a departure from the norm of heroic fame. It’s also a beautiful blending of messages that anyone who stops long enough in your life to care, to understand you, can be family. A solid story of living in harmony, something that we very much need during these troubled times. And for Rocky, he lives comfortably in the shadow of what comes after him in the ring. It’s a gift that falls at his feet, at the right and necessary time.
I think the road to anonymity leads to second chances. Another life, perhaps a better one. I’m not certain of this, there aren’t many people to ask. But, it makes me wonder all the more. Perhaps the road less traveled remains unnamed for a reason.