Far From Fearless


Non-Fiction - Inspirational
120 Pages
Reviewed on 03/09/2021
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Author Biography

Every year, Rebecca K. O'Connor gives her friends a homemade present on her birthday. For her 50th birthday, she wanted to do something special. Far From Fearless is this gift, a collection of micro-essays and pencil drawings on plant prints. It is the culmination of a year spent sending a weekly essay by email, a year of learning to create prints from the leaves in her neighborhood, and art drawn from the photographs of nature she has taken on morning walks on these prints. The essays explore the struggles, and joys of embracing an "artist's journey" with an overarching message to persevere and to find your joy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

In Far From Fearless, Rebecca K. O’Connor, author, artist, falconer, life-wanderer, survivor, lover of life just the way it is, weaves all these challenging themes into an inspirational tapestry of full engagement regardless of risk. As a raptor trainer, author O’Connor has firsthand knowledge of both the beauty and the terror of living life to the fullest despite fear, failure, and self-doubt. She wrote Far From Fearless during isolation because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The book is a collection of personal essays addressed to the reader as an encouragement to carry on. She defines the “authentic” life—doing what fulfills even while we earn our daily bread with activities more mundane. She suggests we create a mission statement not only for our daily activities but for our lives. Interspersed with her philosophy are her amazing drawings of birds in the background of leaf-prints. In particular, she recounts her own struggles with her life as a writer, finding inspiration when the going gets tough.

As a book reviewer I see many fine works, but every now and then I encounter a rare gem of a book. And Rebecca K. O’Connor’s Far From Fearless is a radiant emerald. When I finished it, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Read this book! It will make you want to pull that old unfinished manuscript out and get back to work, or whatever project that you hold dear but have put to one side. Ms. O’Connor takes her lead from her love of nature despite the savagery of the natural world and often the heartbreak of our personal relationships. An ex-kickboxer and body surfer, she knows how physically to climb back up from setbacks, and as a wild bird trainer, she also knows the grief of loss. The question is how to live holistically. And her advice is profound. It’s more than her message, though; it’s the exquisite beauty of her prose and of her art that will motivate anyone who aspires to add beauty and love to the world. She is the soul sister of the poet Mary Oliver, and had her own emotional trials, especially during the pandemic. “I cling to things lost,” she writes. “A no-fail investment—yourself.” We have much to learn from Ms. O’Connor, not only from what she says but especially from how magnificently she says it. I wish I could award Far From Fearless not only five but a universe of stars!

Tammy Ruggles

Far From Fearless by Rebecca K. O'Connor is an aesthetic journey of art, science, beauty, and joy. This collection of lovely essays is accompanied by nature prints that the author created. Each essay contains a morsel that will enrich the reader's day, boost a mood, shed some light, share something humorous or wise, or offer comfort in some way. Some struggle to put thoughts and emotions into words, but O'Connor has a gift for getting right to the heart of emotion or circumstance. She doesn't shy away from the hard parts, and lends her incredible insight to the process of her creativity, and creating in general. The essays are a result of writing mini-essays and drawing the natural world around her. On her birthday each year, she kindly makes a present for her friends, but her 50th would be extra special, so she brought it all together inside this book, and it is her gift to them.

O'Connor combines science, nature, and art in such creative, meaningful ways, and as you read, her process is revealed to you with each passing essay and picture. She shares her journey as an artist, and aspiring artists can learn from her insights and experiences. I like her message of not giving up and finding joy in the things around you. When she gave this book to her friends, she gave something special and unique of herself. And now others can enjoy the gift as well. I like the details she puts into each essay as it helps you to feel as if you are getting to know the author in a personal way. The lessons she learned about herself are lessons we can also learn, so it's the universal appeal as well as the personal that works perfectly together. I also enjoy the cultural references she includes. It gives you an immediate sense of time and place--possibly a point of reference in your own life. If you're looking for inspiration and a feel-good read, Far From Fearless by Rebecca K. O'Connor should be on your to-read list.

Tommy Wong

There is a total of 24 essays in Far From Fearless: A Collection of Essays by Rebecca K. O'Connor. The essays are inspirational and contain wisdom that has been derived from O'Connor’s real-life experience. There are six steps in Far From Fearless in which the essays are equally divided with four essays in each step. “Begin” is the first step, followed by “Believe”, “Embrace”, “Grieve”, “Prevail”, and “Begin Again” as the sixth step. Interspersed between the essays, there are illustrated plant prints also by O'Connor, which give an added dimension to Far From Fearless.

Wisdom on living life with risk and fear is always valuable and there are many ways to share it. It is admirable that Rebecca K. O'Connor uses essays to share hers, and the wisdom is deep and profound. I particularly liked the essay “Your Mission” which shows the importance of a mission statement. It gives us guiding principles to be able to say “no” to money – powerful stuff. I also liked the essay “Endings and Things Unfinished” which teaches us to let go of projects we no longer love – see the contradiction with the teaching never give up. What has Maslow’s hierarchy of needs got to do with hummingbirds is revealed in the essay “A Hummingbird Dreams” – intriguing. Then, O'Connor came up with her rules in “The Girlfriend Project”. Who is the girlfriend and what is the investment are revealed in the essay “The No-Fail Investment”. There is more deep wisdom in the other essays. A recommended read to those who are interested in venturing beyond an ordinary life.