Thoughts on David duChemin's "A Beautiful Anarchy"

I’ve been reading, and digesting, this book for about 2 weeks. I even told David that I was going to review the book while in the midst of it, because it was already changing my life, but I was letting the chapters sink in, letting the words level the ruts of my neural pathways. Finishing the book last night, in a slight haze from cold meds and exhaustion, there was no grand masterful ending. There was, as I fully anticipated, a powerful but personal and gentle send off tagged onto a call for action, not just reflection.

“Most of all: make it.”

As a longtime fan of David’s writing (and photography, of course), I’ve always found myself moved and inspired by his perspective on photography, the creative process and life. This book takes that to the next level. This is a philosophy book, in the best possible sense of the phrase. David’s revealing and honest essays on the creative process, the creative life and all that should come with it are poignant and powerful. I could feel gears—long since rusted and atrophied by workaday drudgery—busted lose and urging forward towards a created life.

It’s a challenging read. At its core, this book feels like a loving challenge, a gentle shove to do and be. To quote a song called “The Fall” by fellow Vancouver legends NoMeansNo: “Do you know the meaning of? ‘This is love, this is love’; give me just a little shove. This is.” Especially the chapter on faith… powerful, elegant thought.

Almost, kind of Yoda-like: Do or do not; there is no try.

For me, I just kept reading as though a trusting confident was urging me to be truly honest with myself about what I want from this life—this all-too-brief life.

This was, for me, a life changer. Thank you, David.