Saturday, 24 March 2007

Thor's Paper Plates and Order and Death and Life

Starting to pick myself up again.
I'm finding that plot and pace and emotions are beginning to separate out. Like colossal clouds of summerberry jelly drifting by one another, I can see multiple shifting forms, but not their individual shape.
Thor was one of the original Litopians and he'll forever be associated with paper plates. He would write a plot element upon a plate and hang it on a washing line, and then arrange these plates until he had an order that satisfied him. I think he was probably a genius.
I'm beginning to see a little deeper than this.
I approached both of my short-stories from a different angle: I began with a set of emotions that I wanted to evoke, and I fiddled with the order of these emotions - the emotional topography.
My first ss was very naive, but a jolly fine learning experience all the same.
My most recent ss was far more involved: that is to say that I gave myself a palette of many more emotional states to evoke, some of which were quite subtle. These were written up as events that would fit into my intended narrative. As such, I had a large selection of metaphorical paper plates, and I ordered these, predominantly with trial and error, and pushed some out (in particular, the cast list lost some Paters and some ghosts) and brought new ones in, until I was happy and had the skeleton of the ss prepared.
'CREATIVITY means creative choices of inclusion and exclusion.' [Source: Robert McKee's Story.]

So imagine devoting an emotional resonance to each plate.
To this end, I have been compiling a list of emotive hotwords. By throwing these together, I can forge components that, if handled well, result in an emotional response.
I'll demonstrate:
Picking three hotwords at random ... faith, sarcasm, impulse.
Hmm ...
I can see ...
Deep belief, creates impulsiveness ... belief in impulsiveness ... life devoted to impulsiveness in conflict with conservative values ... conflict deflected with sarcasm ...

And then the phone rings.
Well, my Nan passed away in the night. Peaceful and smiling. Ninety-six.
My poor mother is doing the phone calls, letting everyone know.
I went to see my Nan in hospital a few weeks back, and that'll be my last memory of her. She wasn't awake for most of my visit - apparently she was getting a little too much oxygen and the carbon dioxide levels were making her drowsy. But she did open her eyes and recognize me, and said 'Nice to see you' and another visitor did his Brucie impersonation and we laughed, and then she asked me for a kiss and I obliged. I discovered, on that visit, from the woman who found her on the floor of her kitchen, that my Nan had five pounds in her hand and she wanted me to have the money (presumably to buy something for my son).
She's been happy the last few days and my mother is taking comfort from that - from the fact that my Nan passed away peacefully in her sleep.
I pray for you Nan. Rest in peace at God's side. x

I shall return to these ideas shortly.

1 comment:

5by9 said...

RIP Nan, sorry for your loss.