‘Live Simply, Simply Live’ – The inspiring Shared Stories Anthology

With the growing dependence on technology and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, living simply doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes, a reminder to appreciate the little things in life is all we need to reflect, unwind and reenergise. This year, that reminder comes in the form of a beautiful anthology by primary and secondary year students.

Getting back to what’s important

On November 20th, Star of the Sea College hosted the book launch of Shared Stories Anthology 2018, and CCI was a proud sponsor. Now in its 13th year, the anthology is a collection of creative works from students in Catholic colleges across Victoria. Each year the anthology takes on a new theme, for 2018 the theme was ‘Live Simply, Simply Live’.

For many, it was a chance to explore nature, get back to the essentials of life and encourage others to do the same. For Peter Farrar, Editor and Curator of the anthology, this year’s theme was an important one, tackling an issue that is prevalent across all ages. In discussing the inspiration for the theme, Peter addressed the rise of anxiety and self-doubt in the community and the need to observe small things that matter.

‘So, rather than relying on Instagram and Snapchat, to live simply means to live in a natural environment first and foremost, and to stop and observe the natural world rather than to always rely on a constructed world for stimulus. A lot of the pieces in the anthology reflect that,’ Peter explains.

An anthology for the masses

From its humble beginnings back in 2006, the book and the annual launches have gained a strong following. The first edition of the anthology comprised 78 pages from five schools, 2018 saw 25 schools participate to create over 600 pages across two volumes. This year’s launch featured a keynote speech by Peggy O’Neal, who elegantly explained a busy life can still be simple. The 900 audience members also heard readings from students in Grade 2 up to Year 12 and enjoyed an outstanding performance by Star of the Sea’s competition choir.

Giving young creatives a platform

Most importantly, Shared Stories acts as a platform for the community to celebrate the creative talents of today’s youth, which can be harder to achieve compared to other talents such as sport. 

‘Writing and artwork is a lot more difficult because you can do it within your own school, but to celebrate writing across a diverse range of schools is a reminder that there are other viewpoints, other than our own,’ Peter explains.

‘I think that the breadth of it is why people come to the launch; to hear young people who they’d never meet in their life, or never read their work.’

Take a look at the anthology yourself. It’s the reminder we all so desperately need, and is the perfect way to begin a new year. Copies of the anthology can be found in the State Library of Victoria and the National Library of Australia. You can also download a free digital copy of the book and learn more information on the Shared Anthologies website.

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