“They have to be there!”
Alan Sorrell was deep in an argument with his team. He knew homes were buried underneath the sand in the Star Carr Metholithic site in North Yorkshire, England. He knew it. So, he put them in his drawings
Can you imagine what it’s like to know you are right and be shot down anyway?
Sorrell was no novice to reconstructions of architectural sites. Nor was he an amateur at art itself. He’d been trained for this. He’d practiced for this. What he’d put on paper was perfect. At least, according to him.
It wouldn’t matter. When the argument was over, the master artist had no choice. He retreated to his office. He erased the buildings. The “experts” told him to leave them out.
Fame is a cruel and mean thing. It recognizes with a flash in the pan one moment and forgets with a bolt of indifference the next. Others artists who created similar work to Sorrell’s carved their name in history. Sorrell himself never did. Was his whole life a series of incidents like the one above? Did the “experts” keep him on the back burner?
I wonder if he ever worried about that.
I hope he didn’t. I hope he took pride in his work. I hope he stayed convinced that his opinions about the houses under the sand were right.
Because he was right.
Nearly 50 years after his death, a team of archeologists returned to North Yorkshire. They began to dig. Guess what they found? The oldest dated home known to England, estimated to have been built in 8,500 B.C.
Later that evening, his descendants raised a glass not to each other, not to the fundraisers, but to Alan Sorrell. His family remembered him. His inner circle clung to the work Sorrell had done. They took a moment to honor a man most of the world would never know.
A museum in London recently released an exhibit dedicated to the man’s work. The curator said this:
“To so many people now, [Sorrell’s] name means nothing — and yet so many will instantly recognise his style as soon as they see it, remembering it from books they admired in childhood — as I did myself,
“He deserves to be remembered.”
Maybe he deserves to be remembered. But he wasn’t. He won’t be. After you read this, you’ll forget his name too.
Maybe you deserve to be remembered. Maybe you will. It’s impossible to say.
That’s the secret, though. You don’t get to decide. You can’t control that. What you can do work hard at what means the most to you. You can stand firm in what you think is right. You can fight worthy battles even if you get beaten down by “experts.”
You can leave footprints in the sand.
If you’re lucky, someone will follow them.