Through Endurance, We Conquer
The world, 1915.
Humanity enters the second year of World War I. The U.S. House of Representatives rejects a bill to give women the right to vote. Russia occupies Bukovina and Western Ukraine. An earthquake in Avezzano, Italy, kills 29,800 people.
Three years later, in 1918, the Spanish flu would kill roughly 17-25 million people across the globe.
The story does not seem to change.
What’s known as the Heroic Era of Antarctic Exploration had marked the “closing” of the known terranean world. When Roald Amundsen secured the claim to being the first to reach the south magnetic pole in 1911, a metaphorical completion of the world map had been achieved.
After Ernest Shackleton’s icebreaker, the Endurance, sank in 1915 during his expedition to cross the continent of Antarctica, crushed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton and his crew made the long trek to South Georgia island, where they would overwinter under the shelter of one longboat. Meanwhile, in a perilous navigational feat, Shackleton and a small party took the remaining lifeboat across the Southern Ocean to a whaling outpost on Elephant Island, a voyage that could have easily led to them being swept into the South Atlantic and hopelessly lost. They traversed the mountainous island to the station and secured help for their stranded party. In the end, the expedition did not cross the continent but endured incredible hardship in the monumental attempt.
Shackelton’s ultimate legacy is his leadership; all of the crew survived.
In 2022, a different icebreaker, Agulhas II, found the Endurance 1.9 miles underwater on the floor of the Weddell Sea, resting upright, her emblem perfectly visible above a five-pointed star: ENDURANCE.
As I write this, the Ukraine is fighting off Russian invaders, COVID-19 has killed just over six million people globally, and the Antarctic Treaty, to be re-signed in 2044, is safeguarding the Antarctic and Southern Ocean as a scientific resource for the world, a legacy essential to our prosperity on this planet.
Meanwhile, NASA is sending a telescope into space that will be able to show us the beginnings of the universe.
The story does not seem to change.
In a testament to her crest, the Endurance reminds us that the coldest and harshest circumstances preserve The Best of Us.
Much has changed in the 107 years she sat lost beneath the waves of that unrelenting sea, but not the forces that pull the human spirit together in search of the great Bigger Than Us.
Our legacy—the legacy of those who hold wonder, camaraderie, and the power of The Best of Us in our bones—is more powerful than war and pestilence.
“Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.”
– Ernest Shackleton
Cheers to the crew of the Agulhas II and all those involved for this incredible achievement! Thank you.
You can read about another great Southern Ocean voyage in the fantastic Kimberly Bowker’s article here.
Clare Bohning 3.10.2022
The main inspiration for quitting social media came from watching Julia Bausenhardt’s video on YouTube.
She echoed many things that I have been feeling about being an artist on social media. If you are an artist curious about this topic, I recommend watching her video and contemplating what you want out of the platform and whether it is serving you correctly.
In true 2021 fashion, I’m about to go to a funeral, and I’ve found myself in a medical job the last year.
Having very few extra fucks to give and energy to expend makes what you want clearer, or at least what you don’t want.
The bullet points of why I am leaving are these:
· I’m not interested in making content for a conglomerate that doesn’t pay me.
· I’d rather have two people who want to see my work and seek it out see it than 5,000 who don’t care. That’s a waste of everyone’s time. I’d rather my stuff be something that a Seeker finds than a billboard in a loud crowd.
· The expiration date of Instagram posts is about four hours. I’m not making that kind of thing; I don’t fit with what this site promises; thus, my contributions are not the right fit for this platform or its audience, and again, I am wasting the viewers’ and my own time.
Three of the most important things are:
· I don’t want to socialize on social media. I don’t consider it to be a fulfilling human connection.
· I want a healthier connection to art and artists. I want to make a plan for how I view art and artists I enjoy seeing and actually invest in those artists. I myself do not spend as much money on art as I am taking in, because I am getting my fill from media. It’s not the whole connection I want to have, and it’s not respectful, in my opinion, to the artists. I will be thinking of how to do this better. For now, I have compiled a list of artists I am going to keep in touch with.
· The best work I did was when I wasn’t catering to social media, so that’s what I’m going back to.
What I am doing:
· Focusing on articles, things of interest, and art for my website, clarebohning.com, so people who are interested in those things can find them and share them.
· Selling art and stuff on Etsy.
· Making stuff to be viewed and/or bought on my Inprnt store.
I want to view, make, and exchange art in a way that seems more ethical and better for me. I’ll be reviewing and changing things as I go. Other artist friends, I’d love to hear what you are doing as you go. I feel it’s time for an artist revolution.
I am so glad I have had the exchanges I have had on this platform, and what I have shared here I have shared because I wanted to, and if you found some interest in or thoughts on it, good, that was the intent. Going forward, I hope to do it in a better way. Thank you for going with me this far. If our paths cross again, it will be at exactly the right time, and if they don’t, they weren’t meant to. J
My parting thoughts are: Please do what you know you need to do. And if people or things tell you differently, think of me in your head saying “Oh hell fucking no, etc. We have shit to, do and there’s no time for that.”
Turning back the lens
*An unedited script on death, time as an artist, with some poetry and what it actually means to be silent as a creator.
My art and writing turned quiet and inward in the last year.
My Dad died.
He wasn’t just my Dad,
he was a great guy and someone I could talk easy too. he was a good friend. A constant inspiration. Before that, his mom died, and that was a whole other well of lost thoughts and dreams I have to find in the world again.
The world turned inward. Colors spread out came through my eyes and flipped like the biological lens we Carry.
The last thing I made that people saw was his obituary.
Colors turn backwards.
The thoughts turn inward.
It’s something we do. We watch things come and watch things go. The waves bring new stones and broken bones, and sometimes we loose the way.
The way leads on, says Edwin Muir.
I turn 30 this year. I’m collecting pages of old books and burning old dreams. Those dreams recycle, into something tangible.
We are the sum of what we leave behind. Who do we become?
The lens reverses.
When the colors are ready.
My mirror is full of scars, dark eyes, and things I never wanted to see.
Full of life experiences that are beyond comprehension in their beauty. Generosity. Camaraderie.
I am fortunate in my work.
If I was handed the riches
Of the world, I’d decline,
I would rather have friends, in all the wrongful right places.
They are the riches the world forgot. Rough like stone, glittering in the harshest light.
We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we get to choose what we do with right here and now. We choose what we do with what we got when we got it.
Tomorrow mourns, the fallen artisan.
Tomorrow awaits, the aspiring dreamer.
Tomorrow mourns, the end of time.
Time reveals the Calls,
Stuff and stout in place.
The prospect long sought, defines its line,
To stand again,
At End Of Time.
The fallen artisan.
The Aspiring Dreamer.
Useful writing Stuff
Last Updated 7.15.2018
Sometimes people ask me about writing. Here's the thing's I say.
Q: I have always wanted to write a story, but it seems daunting and I don't know if anyone would like it.
A: Write the story. It is worthy. Making it is worthy. Do The Thing. Tell the voice of doubt 'Not Today.'
Q: My gr4mmar and speling suck, I cant write good.
A: You'll learn the rules as you go. What's important is you write it down, and keep working to make it the best it can be. This may be the painter in me, but I like to write by building layers. Mistakes are common and frequent, because getting the point across is more important to me in the first drafts than making sure my letters are arranged correctly. Getting that final draft polished is important, but don't let perfectionism stop you from finishing that first draft. And when you've don't what you can do, that's what editors are for. (Like Lara Milton)
On social Media, Internet, and Marketing:
Just do what you're comfortable with.
I don't care what all these people are saying about "You have to get a twitter/instagram/tumber/youtube yadayadadydada' just do what feels right and natural to you. Weigh the good with the bad. (Because there are benefits, but chances are that if you haven't used social media and utilized those benefits yet, they are not going to work for you.)
Your job is to write stories. If you have other things that are taking gratuitous amounts of time away from that, consider if it's worth it. (With social media, chances are, it's not.)
Decide what you want out of writing.
Ask yourself questions. Research what you want. Research what that looks like. Research how to do it. There's a million ways to 'Make it', and the definition of it changes from person to person.
The only way to do it is to keep doing it, and there will be a million times you want to quit before it gets better, and it will be harder in more ways than you though possible. Do it anyway. (cuz goonies never say die)
On Writer's Block:
If you're stuck, try this:
Sit down at your writing spot, and think of something you DON'T want to write about. Then take it a step further and thing of the thing you want to write about least. Then go farther and think about the thing that would curl your fingernails to type on a keyboard. Write that. At least a page.
You'll have a different perspective of what you want to write about after that.
That first few hours of finishing something are ****** magical. Enjoy! Rejoice! Celebrate! Huzzah!!!
But you are not done.
Put it away for as much time as you can. A week at least, longer for novels. you need to forget about it for a while, and then come back with fresh eyes to chip away to become something to give to others.
I hate this part, and usually muster about 45min before I'm back reading it through again, but it does work.
And when all else fails, remember:
Honesty + Humanity
Making Something Important
What makes something important?
Art and writing can be imperfect. Perfectly flawed, like humanity.
I don't think you can make something meaningful unless you bring complete, vulnerable truth to it. Put it out there and say, 'this is the pure, ugly, beautiful, chaotic truth.' Even when it feels like it's clique, over used, or overstated.
No, it's not.
Someone else might have said it, but not in a way that YOU can say it. It's important to remember that, when your making things, or doing whatever it is that you do.
Making art is important. It's the shelf we sit our heavy hearts. It's the place we build ourselves up from, a flame we can light our candles with. Torches passed from country to country until they light a beacon of unity. Unity in Humanity.
We are imperfect beings,
and we are flawlessly flawed.
But someone else needs to hear the story,
so they can get through it,
or see something
or carry another torch.
If you're not dead, keep going.
If you get killed, walk it off.
What you do is important.
Go latch onto what holds you up. Make something else.
Somebodies world might depend on it.
I salute you, fellow artist.
First off, I launched a small Kickstarter in November.
It was successfully funded and you can keep up on the progress here.
Second, I got my Amazon Author Page
Spiffy! It's here.
And most majestically, I have opened up my Threadless Shop!
After much research, I decided that Threadless was the best avenue for selling my artwork. I'm really excited to launch this officially latter this month, but it is open for business in this pre-official launch phase too.
Expect bi-weekly graphic updates, and more fine art added to the store.
It's been quiet on here, but been loud in the workshop.
There are many MANY things coming out of the woodwork this year. I just finished scheduling production for the next few months, and the year is going to be one of the most productive yet. You won't see some of it until next year, but many things that have been in the works are coming together. It's both exciting and exhausting, which is a great place to be.
Let's keep moving forward.
2017 historical inspiration
Some historical inspiration for achieving your dreams, the 1900's Antarctic edition:
Mostly the old expeditions to the south we're groups of guys who had little experience in frigid temperatures traversing around doing stupid things because nobody was around to tell them they couldn't/shouldn't do it. Like walking right along the edges of the active volcanoes, meandering off into the distance glaciers because they were bored, "nah we're good lets go a little bit farther" even though they're totally frostbitten and exhausted.
The ones that lived and returned successfull usually, but not always, shared certain things:
-Calculated risk taking
-Accepting what failure meant and went full kilter anyway (usually death if not a mighty ding to their reputation)
-High spirits (Cookbooks!)
-They valued the lives of their party members.
-A desire to face the unknown
-A healthy dose of Fuck It.
The stuff of legends is made in the trials of imperfection and uncertainty.
Do a job too well, prepare, and execute it to perfection and you'll be forgotten because the story is less exciting. (Amundsen)
Do a job full kilter, damn the consequences, and you (and most of your party) will die a hero. (Scott)
But, if you bring out the best in your people with great leadership, the ability to make hard choices, and problem solve and do your best to bring everyone back alive, you become legends.
Even though they failed in the original mission, the one that happened was above and beyond what anyone could expect to survive. (Shackleton)
It's 2017, chaps. What kind of legend are you?
Things I Learned From My Kickstarter
I recently ran a Kickstarter for my books, Chime and The Fleetwood Skies. I learned a few things there in the trenches, and I have some stuff I'd like to pass on. Here's the skinny:
You better be ready to back your product %100
People can smell doubt. Why should they invest if you don't believe in it either?
Don't be bland and impersonal with marketing. It's boring and stupid.
Nobody buys crap that doesn't make them feel good. If you copy/paste marketing stuff you're better off saving your advertising dollars to buy your friends a cup of coffee. (Them telling their friends is better advertising anyway.)
Sub-Note-- book campaigns need to be finished and ready for retail. I have noticed from observing Kickstarter campaigns that book projects that are not finished or complete are usually the campaigns that are not even 10% funded by the end of their cycle. I can see the appeal of trying to fund a story before you are finished because it takes a huge investment of time and money, but the reality is that unless you have a very supportive fan base or a rich benefactor, no one is going to put money into a book that hasn't been completed, especially if you have nothing under your belt to prove that you can finish it and finish it well.
Connect with your backers
THANK YOUR BACKERS. They are giving you their hard earned money to take a chance on you. RESPECT THAT. IT IS A BIG DEAL. If you don't respect your backers, you are not only being a shish-kebab, but you are losing credibility and excitement for the next project.
Also, it's fun.
Connect using platforms you already have.
If you have Facebook, twitter, Instagram, deviantArt, Goodreads, YouTube, whatever, use that. It's fine to learn new things and branch out but you're more likely to confuse yourself and get distracted from your real goal while finagling with the politics of social media.
When in doubt, buy them coffee.
Do yourself a favor and research correct keywords for searches, however. This will get you free traffic and the most promising connections online.
You will get swamped with messages from marketing companies
Everyone wants a slice of that money you're working hard for. I would not recommend any of it, even if you're project isn't going as well as you planned.
Remember that the spikes in pledging are usually at the beginning and the end of the project. Don't fall victim to these companies taking your money out of desperation. Persevere and re-plan!
Ask your friends for help
And buy them that damn cup of coffee. People that care about your success want to help, and something as small as saying, "hey, can you share this?" can go a long way. Don't expect ANYONE to do anything for you, unless they are contractually involved in the project, but you never know what will make the right connection.
When possible, reach out in person.
(Further reading on this in The Art of Asking, which also houses a plethora of info on crowd funding.)
Start small, with an achievable goal.
Do something you can know you can finish, with a goal you know you can obtain, with a time frame and budget you know you can sustain. It sounds 'dah', but it's easy to over or underestimate things, especially when you've never done it before.
But, ultimately, and most importantly:
Get 'er Done.
Good luck, :)
In my house, on a special shelf, is a Lego pirate ship and a copic marker painting I did of Shackleton's Endurance.
One year we got one big Lego set for the entire family to build on Christmas day. Sweet hu?
Everyday I look at the Endurance picture and go, "Whoa! History is so cool! They were such badasses. Antarctica ice ships dogs...etc."
At the same time I look at the Lego pirate ship and go, "Whoa! Metal beard! Pirates! High seas Adventure! Awesome! LEGO!... etc."
They only have two similarities: they are both ships, and they both represent something epic.
How much of history is romanticized? It can be the same kind of joy you get from a toy; you get from it what your imagination puts into it.
"History is boring," says the kid who wanted to go home and play, not realizing stories of ships and seas ultimately lead to the creation of Metal Beard and the Sea Cow.
In my house, they're the same. Both ships, and both epic.
The Chime, Almost Here
Seems like forever ago, but last month I finally put the last red scribbles to paper and sent The Chime off to my editor.
There's that moment of celebration, the HUZZAH I FINISHED A BOOK! But it's all to quickly filled with sadness, because you won't ever get to work on that particular story like that ever again.
I'd imagine some would say it's like watching your kids go off to college, but that's not it.
I think sending off your final draft to an editor is most like watching your dog go to the bathroom in the backyard on his own for the first time, knowing there may be mistakes to clean up in the future, but the big hurdle of getting him out of the door is done.
There is still shit to do, but it is very close now.
Stay tuned for pre-order details! I'm going to do a few things differently and I've very excited.
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