The Dash

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

In the busy results-driven lives we all lead, when something doesn’t go to plan and life throws challenges at us, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the turmoil. Then those moments touch our lives that remind us what is really important. Most of my followers know that along with neuroscience, I specialised in developmental psychology. What you may not know, is what that actually means. Developmental psych isn’t just about the stages that children go through as they grow and learn; it’s about the changes that people go through, from the emotional to the cellular, from conception through to the end of their days. It’s life. Or as some call it, the dash. It’s not about a 100 metre sprint, but the part in-between the beginning and the end. On a tombstone, it seems like such an insignificant thing – a little line between two dates – but it represents something so precious. Featuring two wonderful artists this week… both the youngest and the oldest illustrators of Remember, I want to talk about it all – the lives we lead, the time we share and the development that occurs along the way.

In my first blog, I spoke about character… and how our experiences shape us as we grow and learn. As a writer, I am still in the ‘baby’ stage of my journey… still learning to crawl and wondering if I’ll ever make it out of nappies. But I’m not alone, and there are so many of us out there in different stages of our careers, finding our way in this crazy journey that is life. Talking about being at the beginning of a journey, without further ado, I’d like to introduce the youngest artist to submit an illustration to Remember, just 11 years old, Miss Taylah Barba. A vibrant and beautiful personality, you may recognise her from the cover reveal promo a few weeks ago. She loves her school, friends and family, her pets, and riding her bike. Her favourite things are unicorns, chocolate, sour lollies, thrill rides, dogs, cats, birds, and most other animals. Connected to her community, Taylah loves attending weekly art class, chess club, karate and playing the flute, and one day, much further in her journey than she is now, she hopes to become a police officer. She says that she is ‘…so excited to have my picture selected for this book!’

Some other people who are excited about being part of the Remember community, are the Goodna RSL Sub Branch Women's Auxiliary. Generously providing some financial support to assist with the book production, they do a lot of great work in the veteran community. They hold Bunnings sausage sizzles, run raffles, sell military merchandise, partake in the Jacaranda Festival, and run craft stalls. Then there’s their delicious home baking too. In the past couple of years they have raised funds to purchase a defibrillator for the Frank McGreevy Function Centre, and being animal lovers like young Taylah, they are currently raising funds for an Animals Lost in War Memorial at the centre. If you’d like to support these hardworking ladies, they’ll have some beautiful wares for sale at the Remember Book Launch BBQ. It could be a great chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping for the craft lovers in your life.

If your Christmas budget is a bit higher than that, you may want to have a look at the incredible work by Mr Glen Gillard. A veteran of six years in the regular army and doting Poppy to two adorable little girls, Glen’s journey as an artist involved a great deal of study and learning with various tutors, and an ongoing commitment to improve and develop his skills. Now a full-time artist, while taking time to spend with his lovely wife or tranquil garden, he paints across a range of themes including seascapes and still life, and his preferred mediums are oils, watercolour and pastel. With more than 20 solo exhibitions to his name, he has won dozens of first and second prizes for his stunning artworks and has been commissioned to paint numerous public murals. A historian at heart and fellow empathic creative, the tale behind his captivating illustration in Remember is incredibly moving. Like so many of the world’s greatest artists, he sees the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary, and always finds something beautiful in the world to immortalise onto canvas. Throughout his impressive life journey and many valuable contributions to the art and wider community, he holds a positive attitude and continues to work hard, ‘having much good work to accomplish.’ And all the while, he still revels in the cherished time to bottle feed a baby in his arms. An extremely kind man, my son was rapt at meeting him and seeing his incredible Brisbane studio. Glen is an inspiration to so many.

If we spend too much time getting caught up in the challenges we face, we can miss out on the joy. Every minute spent worrying is a minute that could have been spent working towards a solution and too often we think there’s more time. But the dash is all too short, as being later along on life’s journey teaches us, and it’s important to find the bliss in the little things. Be it a garden, a painting, or a moment with our loved ones. Throug