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Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road Paperback – October 16, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road is a wonderful, triumphant book!" Sara Mansfield Taber, author of Born Under an Assumed Name: A Memoir of a Cold War Spy's Daughter

"A highly original work twining a cross-country road trip to the narrator's search for his muse." Sue William Silverman, author of The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew

"Patrick Ross is a writer of tremendous skill. Simply put, Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road is a wonderful book." Sascha Feinstein, author of Black Pearls: Improvisations on a Lost Year

About the Author

Patrick Ross is a professional storyteller. He spent a decade as an award-winning journalist covering Washington, D.C., politics after starting his career with a U.S. senator. He is currently a creative writer and writing instructor in Alexandria, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and two teenage children while daily suppressing a strong urge for bacon. Learn more at patrick-ross.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Black Rose Writing; First Printing ed. edition (October 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161296429X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612964294
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,118,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EstherBradley-DeTally on October 21, 2014
Patrick Ross's books is more than a good read. Committed, a memoir of The Artist's Road (his very fine blog) is unique, courageous, sensitive and highly worth reading.

Patrick Ross is a professional storyteller who spent a decade as an award-winning journalist covering D.C. politics, having worked with a U.S. senator.

The theme, or one of the many themes in his account of a cross-country trip, focuses on the artist's commitment. He interviews artists who are comitted to an authentic, and purposeful dedication to their artist lives.

Committed is also a memoir about change, about creativity, repressed or unrepressed.

Patrick Ross reveals internal struggles, family legacies of dysfunction and accusations. And this memoir reveals the affects of his 5 week road trip, which triggers his own put-away-in-the-closet writer's call.

Committed is a book about all of us in one sense. We are now working, living, surviving, scrambling, starving or satiated, for safety, economic security, and thus the overused word "brand," sprouts into being.

The author is a man who has the courage to change. He is also a man who has the courage to reveal.

As a writer myself, I recognize that there is no security, but security finds meaning in actuating potential. I personally found his direct honesty/not confession/ a dropping of the veils of self, the social self heartening. We are all on a journey, and that journey the process of becoming our true selves, which does not mean a dance down a gossamer path, but one of facing the grit, crisis, and victory in our lives.

We are all frail. We are all creative in some ways. We need courage.
Anxiety in my mind's eye, is repressed creativity.
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When first beginning to read Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road, it seems as though the rawness, introspection, and vulnerability are the magnanimous gifts offered by Ross. These qualities inevitably give the reader permission to be a more authentic version of him or herself. The real gifts, however, emerge later, as the piece melodically unfolds and inspires the reader to do something with the freedom he/she finds on the other side of that permission slip. Beautifully written, with rich metaphors, a tangible sense of place(s), and depictions of individuals that are neither positive nor negative, but simply perceived through one lens at one moment in time. A must read for all creatives and all self-perceived "non-creatives."
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An account of one man's journey across the United States to engage with creative individuals, but that journey turns out to be one of self-discovery. Ross strips on the page, invites us along on his venture, where he learns more than he ever expected about himself - his vulnerabilities and demons - spurring us to take a long look at ourselves and the unresolved conflicts in our lives. Honest, brave, poignant.
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I was really fortunate to get an early copy of Patrick's memoir Committed. Once I started it, I didn't want to put it down! The story Patrick shares is one that many creatives know: the discovery and act of embracing our creativity, which doesn't always come easily. Patrick shares his battle to become a Committed Creative and I am a better person for having read his work.

I completed a video review of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road where I draw and doodle about the book while I narrate. You can watch it here: http://artistthink.com/2014/10/20/book-review-committed-a-memoir-of-the-artists-road/
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In the Acknowledgements pages, Patrick Ross discloses that the first draft of his memoir was written while pursuing an MFA in Writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His mastery of the craft of memoir is evidenced by his ability to twine the Now, the Then, and the Hope-to-Be. A master story-teller, his characters and plot-lines are embellished with metaphor and graphic description.

The narrative arc of the book is broad enough to include a cross-country quest to discover artistic truth and flashbacks to his troubled childhood, as he faces down his fear of a bipolar spiral that may jeopardize his own family life. Ross weaves in anecdotes of his previous life as a journalist and lobbyist after starting his career with a US Senator. The thread that runs so true through the entire narrative is the desire "to pursue an authentic, art-committed life" as he interviews other artists, writers, and musicians on a similar mission.

I found distracting though, various instances of errors that should have been edited out, particularly lack of spacing after quotation marks. If the book goes into another printing, I hope these typographical errors will be addressed.
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I had been following Patrick Ross's blog, The Artist's Road, with pleasure for quite some time before I purchased a copy of his book, COMMITTED: A MEMOIR OF THE ARTIST'S ROAD. The book does not disappoint.

Part memoir, part exploration of the creative process, Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road is a narrative of Ross's experiences and revelations during a five-week cross-country journey to interview various artists about copyright infringement for a documentary. Ross begins by taking the position of the objective journalist, but he soon strips away his veneer of dispassionate observation to reveal his own ambivalence about living the creative life as well as his personal struggle with mental illness. The journey to discuss copyright concerns becomes one of self-revelation.

Ross's writing is eloquent and beautifully descriptive. We feel the claustrophobia of the musician's home studio, smell the freshly baked muffins, and in one of his most powerful passages, experience the transcendent moment of driving from the Plains up into the Rocky Mountains.

Artists are often forced to balance the needs of family and time with the passion of creating art. It is a sad fact that, in this country, few artists can earn a living from their creative work. Again and again, Ross poses the question to his interviewees: "What does it mean to commit to the creative life?" The answers are varied, but they all follow a similar theme. As I read through this book, I found myself underlining certain responses because they spoke to me and my own life as an artist. When Ross interviews Bob Kurtz, a musician and a composer, Kurtz tells him, "What you think about all day long should be what you do, then.
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