‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ (2018)


The movie in short:

In 1946 a London-based writer, Juliet Ashton begins exchanging letters with residents on the island of Guernsey, which was German-occupied during WWII. Feeling compelled to visit the island, she starts to get a picture of what it was like during the occupation.


1. Just keep working - even if its war

The main character Juliet, played by British actress Lily James, never stopped writing, even in the war. Even though she looses both parents she uses her gifts of words to heal and fight back. Her typewriter is her constant companion and writing is her art. Because of her persistence she became a published working artist, recognized and admired for her work. Her success gives her the authority and the financial freedom she needs to follow her heart.


Note to self: Just keep writing, painting and designing. Even if it is war in my head or heart and there have been loses I just need to keep creating. My gift will get me to the other side where opportunity will be waiting.


2. Your art is bigger than yourself

In the movie the residence of Guernsey have been crippled by the occupation. Reading becomes their escape from reality and the horrors of war. Their regular reading sessions bring the locals together. They pour themselves over the classics, reading and re-reading the few books they still have on the island.


Good art will always find a way. Art transcends time and circumstance offering inspiration way past our lifetime.


Think long term: My art is not just about me. It is bigger than myself and it is my desire that my work precedes my lifetime.

I want to work with that kind of focus, living with intent while making each day count. Fully aware of who I am and what I want to say…and then say it with great beauty and boldness.


3. Start a conversation – write a letter or a comment

Art creates conversation. Stories open up a dialog. Juliet starts exchanging letters with the literary society on Guernsey, starting a conversation about their mutual passions: Writing and reading. Both Juliet and the residence gain new, valuable insights … and encouragement and inspiration.


Note to self: I need to realize that I create for an audience. My conversation does not finish when my painting or project is done. This is just the start. It is a catalyst for exchanging idea’s and sharing experiences and vision. As artists we need to be aware of who we are talking too? Is that what I want to say coming across and am I adding to the conversation?


4. Go on an adventure

Against better judgment and good advice Juliet feel compelled to visit Guernsey. The war has just ended and the island is still recovering from her occupation. During her visit she meets the members of the reading society. Their captivating encounters and stories during war-ridden Guernsey fuel her artist heart and Juliet decides to tell their story.


If you are stuck go on an adventure. Meet new people, listen to their stories and inspiration will find you. Get out of you comfort zone, do something, you have never done before, even if it is scary.


5. Curiosity

A lot of untold tragedies remain buried in Guernsey. Juliet is undeterred as she peels away the layers of lies and shame of the members of the reading society. Her curiosity and fascination for the truth becomes her map. Her quest ignites rejection and aggravation among the residence and there is moment she needs to decide to stop her research or to press in, in order to expose the truth. The trust she builds with the society members transform into deep friendships and slowly the truth of what happened in the war is revealed.  Her research has paid off and this becomes the base of her new book. Her piece of art is born.


Curiosity never killed the cat!


6. We need our cheerleaders

There are moments when Juliet doubts her abilities and talents. She feels incompetent to tell the story and she experiences major writers block. Her publicist and longtime friend is sensitive to what she needs and speaks words of affirmation and encouragement into her life. He reminds Juliet who she is, what she has done and what she is capable of.


As artists we all know this struggle. When voices of self-doubt and insecurity about our abilities or our past failures paralyze our heads and hearts and consequently our art.  We need to find other voices to affirm us. Who do you have in your life that can cheer you on? Or do you need to start investing time into life-giving relationships?


7. Art heals

Juliet has established trust and starts to write their story. The fact that somebody took the time to do the research, uncover the truth and is willing to tell their story restores identity, self-worth and dignity in the residence of Guernsey. As an outsider Juliet has a fresh perspective on the situation. Instead of judgment she chooses to listen, to love and to accept them.


This is the power of art! As artist we can choose what and how we want to tell the story. We can shift perspectives, change opinions while changing hearts.

Art can recognize, restore identity and potentially heal hearts.


PS. For the rest I guess you need to see the movie.


PSS. I really enjoyed the quality of acting. I am always impressed with the quality of British actors, proving once again that if you invest in great top-notch art education you will produce world-class artists!