Page 45 Review by Stephen
Guilty in charging, I'm guilty as charged!
I raise my hands in recognition and have benefited enormously from reading this comic.
It wasn't always this way.
My original route to any gainful employment was so circuitous that I had to explain it in terms of my preference of driving down A roads and B roads to the mania of motorways which might get you to your destination faster, but what really is the point if you don't experience anything of interest along the way? Where would have been the beauty, the growth and the sustenance for the soul?
But at least I'd have been rushing from A to B.
"For me, whenever I have been caught in this race it always feels that as soon as I arrive at B..." contends Mike, perched comfortably on top of his prized destination, "... it somehow turns back to A."
Unsettling: he's almost unseated.
"Then I find that B has become a new goal, off in the distance."
Ha ha, yes, yes, yes!
It was with no small degree of amusement that I read that, realising that this mini-comic was coming up for review. Every Wednesday I hand in my weekly assignment which is our Reviews Blog with a huge sigh of relief and hopefully some sense of accomplishment, only to be confronted - on the very same day and usually before I've hit "publish" - with yet another huge stack of comics and graphic novels braying for my attention:
B has turned back to A.
And it is therefore with no small degree of irony that I type all this about RUSHING FROM A TO A when I am doing precisely that.
However, at least while I'm reading all these beautiful books with so much to say, I am experiencing beauty and undergoing growth while finding the right words to communicate their excellence. As to sustenance of the soul, there is no more apposite expression to describe the work of Mike Medaglia.
In POVERTY OF THE HEART, ONE YEAR WISER and once again here, Medaglia ever so gently reminds us of those priorities - that we perhaps already know but often forget or let fall by the wayside - which would make our lives and others' infinitely richer if we just paused for a moment, reflected upon them and re-aligned ourselves with their more giving, forgiving and harmonious wholes. He's a healer, not a preacher. His writings and art radiate understanding and kindness, not criticism; nor do they sound one single note of holier-than-thou self-aggrandisement. Anyone lecturing you on what to do or (worse) what to think, probably doesn't have your best interests at heart: they almost certainly have theirs. Mike never lectures; he provides you with possibilities for potential, catalysts for your consideration and opportunities for renewed self-awareness
Here it is understood that progression is important to our growth and so sense of accomplishment, but so is looking around us while we travel: living in the now.
"Impermanence is a reminder that this life is happening right now.
"Mindfulness is a tool to help us be present and stay present while the world unfolds around us."
"Now", I would suggest, is the only opportunity you will ever have to experience the present, first-hand, in all its immediate vibrancy, nuance and splendour. Considering it on reflection later on is of course of great benefit, but those examinations depend entirely on what you took in at the time.
There's a reason why they put blinkers on race horses: the need for speed with no room for distractions or, as I call them, life.
"Instead, we can step back, take a breath, and observe this process playing out."
The process of this comic plays out, like POVERTY OF THE HEART, in skilfully balanced opposing pages like the starting flag and the finishing line; the sedentary and the next inevitable journey ahead; two semi-formed, miniature mandalas to help one focus on 'Impermanence' and the mitigating art of 'Mindfulness'.
The colours are a complementary, calm combination of slight prase green, bright flesh pink and two shades of bilberry blue against a relaxing, mind-expanding emptiness of space except on one key double-page spread which is an utter clutter of detritus we could all do without.
There are no panel borders.
This most ambulatory 100-metre sprint concludes with the quietest, most profound and heart-stirring climax, before a wink and a nod which will leave you beaming for days.