Far and Away by Neil Peart A Book Review

I just finished reading/listening to the 1st book in this 3 book series.

Far and Away

Far and Near

Far and Wide

I’m a great admirer of Neil Peart. He is perhaps best known for being the percussionist & lyricist for the classic rock band Rush; however, he is also the author of several books. I Love hearing about traveling, drumming with Rush, and all the things Peart shares about his perspectives in life.

I was so glad to hear in this book (Far And Away a prize every time copyright 2011) that he had another daughter, after hearing about his 19 yr. old daughter dieing back in ’97 and her mother dieing in ’98. His new daughter was born close to the anniversary of his other daughter’s death and coincidentally she is not much younger than my youngest (Abigail). To top it off her name is Olivia, the same name as my 15yr. old (the oldest of my 3 younger daughters).

I wrote a short review on my facebook page and on audible but wanted to go into more details; after all, that is what my blog is for.

Peart (emphasis on the hard “e”) recalls what he sees while on his journeys, not just by tour bus but by motorcycle.

Here are a few thing I highlighted as I read:

He usually takes notes of various Church signs he sees. One said,

“To error is human, but it can be over done.”

He learned in his travels that VBS stands for Vacation Bible School, something I’ve almost just took for granted. He mused at the busses he saw for the large groups of kids on these vacations.

One such bus had a banner on the side that read:

“VBS – Soccer With Jesus.”

As Peart thought about what he read he went on to ask, “What position would the Son of God play?” Then he assumed the answer would be, “Coach!” Although you could hear the scepticism in his words, almost like, “Coach?” Because I only have the book through audible and it is wonderfully read by Brian Sutherland I could not see if there was a question mark, nor know for sure. I only know through this book, as well as other books I’ve read by Peart, that he is not a believer in God or His Son. I don’t hold that against him, I know too he’d want it that way.

Another thing I missed out on by just having the book on audible was the pictures in the printed version. Neil refers to them throughout his writings. I was, however, able to google for them.

Pearttwent on with the literal thought of, “Soccer with Jesus” and wondered, “Would that make Mary? A soccer mom?”

He notes a few signs he sees held up by fans in crowds. One night on stage right he saw one that read,

“If I loved a woman like I love this band I’d still be married.”

Stage left another,

“I support my husband’s rush addiction.”

He stated, “Two very different stories there obviously.”

One last sign in the crowd I also thought was cute read,

“VBS field trip.”

THAT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING I WOULD DO!

Rush fans are really a different breed of people, perhaps more dedicated in some ways than many rock band fans.

In this book Peart also addresses the physical pains that accompany drumming, another thing I can truly identify with.

Throughout this book, much like his other writings, he paints pictures with words. Specifically in this book I enjoyed how he described tracks he saw left in the snow while on one of his trips snow skiing or snow shoeing. He says, those tracks are like,

“Stories written in the snow but (he) seldom spots their elusive authors in the silent woods.”

Although some of Neil Peart’s philosophy and beliefs, or lack there of, differs from my own I enjoyed many of his thoughts & contributions. He is in no way against people sharing their faith, convictions, & beliefs with him and the world he just wishes more people were kind when doing so. He is also opposed to people forcing things, anything, upon others (ref. 2112). I agree, “ain’t that the truth brother!”

An old Rush song, “Freewill”, still says it best,

“If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice… I will choose freewill.”

I wrote an article on this as well see👉Freewill👈(https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/bigger-moving-picture-freewill) for that.

A few things he says in this book I added to my own personal journal. Such as,

“What can’t be altered must me endured,

and sometimes,

What can’t be endured must be altered.”

He also gives what I consider very good advice. One of many things he offers is to,

“Wake up every morning like it’s the last day of your life. Go to sleep at night like you’re going to live forever.”

He takes what he reads (which is a lot), what others say, what he sees & experiences, mulls over it all, then develops a way of life that has not only served him well but benefits those around him & all who read his writings & listen to his lyrics.

Another form of transportation Peart takes is by ferry when possible. That is where he learned the origin of the word posh, “Port side Out Starboard side Home.” He is always trying to get the best views and that advice served many sea traveling guest well when on just such a venture.

On the subject of journaling he says,

“Every detail I think of writing down seem inconsequential; and yet it is the sum of those details that made the day.”

By the end of this book he expresses how he feels about finding out what the purpose of life is.

He mentions a few quotes from others & refers to many books he has written reviews on. He gives great examples and attributes credit to several things he reads and hopes to convey in his own writing. One he personally shared is,

“Be kind. For, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Philo of Alexandria (a Jewish philosopher who lived in Egypt under the Romans at the time of Christ)”

Peart questions, “why we haven’t learned or applied what these ancient sages had to offer.”

He goes on to suggest that the easy answer is, “Humans are weak willed & self centered.” Here I refer back to one of the signs he saw,

To error is human, but it can be over done.

Yet it seems strange to him that we often resist clear goodness, like generosity to the less fortunate. He is bothered how coldly many human beings are, slow to do such good acts, but how readily they devote themselves, unstintingly, to following meaningless ritual and customs.

To me, this part was much like reading C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Leters. Peart notes how many observer a Holy holiday without fail, yet are unlikely to commit random acts of kindness regularly in everyday life. Peart agrees that the human race has a lot of work to do when it comes to being kind & appreciating others who are fighting a hard battle every day.

He discussed it with friends and he has discovered much within the past two years. While he was not just writing this but living this life; far and away, riding his motorcycle along an American back road, skiing through the Quebec woods, or laying awake in a backwater motel contemplating the spirit of generosity, he engaged himself to these thoughts and ultimately the theme he was grappling with was the meaning of life,

“Love & respect.”

To get the full grasp of what Neil has come to understand first hand you’ll need to read this book for yourself, but I do want to share in short here how he still struggles with a few thoughts, or call them philosophical dilemmas if you will.

Although he comes to this wonderful discovery and conclusion that life should be about love & respect for others, and for ourselves, he claims that no one ever told him this. He had to find out for himself. Perhaps that is the way it is for many of us, but then again if we were told would we have accepted it, or comprehend it, when we were told?

As I heard these words read to me I was saddened to hear the list of people Peart mentioned who he would have liked to hear say these facts, purpose, and meaning of life words, “To love & respect.”

In his own pursuit of happiness Neil Peart sadly states that no one ever told him this: not his mom & dad, not Revered Chism as St. Andrews United Church, not Miss Masters in grade 6 (she gave small prizes to students who memorized Bible verses), not Confucius, not Muhammad, Krishna, not even Jesus. To this I’d like to say to Neil,

“Many may not have told you but Jesus did & still does, it is up to us to listen.”

I, not Neil, can say that I know and believe who my coach, musical director, riding partner, & author of life is, for me personally, it is Jesus Christ.

Just as Peart shares his experiences and faith, so do I, in everything I do. Most importantly I strive to be like Christ. He not only said & still says today, “We are to love, respect and be generous to others”, HE lived it out. Christ did not and does not just tell us with words but said it all with His actions too.

Here is the documented truth behind the philosophy Christ not only taught but practiced. We can still read & apply it to this day:

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord . And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important:

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

No other commandment is greater than these.”
Found in the gospel of Mark 12:28‭-‬31 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/mrk.12.28-31.NLT

That specific verse (Mark 12:31) within that text ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ is called, “The golden rule” by many. Most likely it was even one of the verses his grade 6 teacher rewarded them for memorizing.

I will agree that we may not see the examples Christ set lived out by many people. Each of us as individuals need to show much more selfless love, respect & generosity.

So, over all in conclusion, this is another great read by Peart. He is a very sincere man and detailed author. He doesn’t hold back and it always amazes me how well he puts things down into writing. As I read his works I feel as if I am right there with him on the journey & experiences he shares with the reader.

If you too like hearing about traveling, especially by motorcycle, drumming, and his participation in the classic rock band Rush, all along with a few philosophical thoughts along the lines of being the best you can be, & doing the best you can do check it out.

And now, for the reprise,

“Wake up every morning like it’s the last day of your life. Go to sleep at night like you’re going to live forever.”

Which someday he may make into a song, a song called, “Far and Away.”

With much love & respect, beetle

If you’re interested, I’ve also written several articles regarding my take on some songs by Rush. You can find the index to those articles by going to 👉Moving Pictures The Series👈 (https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/moving-pictures-the-series/)

For a listen of the book go to:https://www.audible.com/pd/Far-and-Away-Audiobook/B019ECYBSQ

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