Sunday, 12 July 2009

Truth from NVC

The Poet Takes a Walk: Valerie Armstrong.

On the topics of truth, body language (Non-Verbal Communication), representational systems, and Norwich, I've been meaning to present a marvellous piece of narrative, again from Ali Smith's The Accidental.
It struck me because, of the many rhythms I engaged with when writing my final act, one of the most notable was my attitude towards character responses, employing 'shows' of body language. You might have noticed the body language link which I added recently.
Check out the apportioning of dominant and submissive behaviour, both in summarised dialogue and through a mix of body language cues, delivered as shows and tells. And see if you can guess which side of the 'Said is dead!' debate Smith champions.

Amber smiled at the man.
I'm afraid, I imagine, you'll need to get written permission from the proprietors of each station for something like that, the man said to Amber, ignoring Astrid.
You're afraid or you imagine? Amber said.
What? the man said.
He looked bewildered.
Afraid or imagine? Amber said.
The man glanced again at the camera and wiped the back of his neck with his hand.
And are you congenitally unable to talk to her, so you have to refer everything to me, like I'm your secretary or a special sign-language interpreter for her, like she's deaf or dumb? Amber said. She can speak. She can hear.
Eh? the man said. Look, he said.
We are looking, Amber said.
Listen, the man said.
Make up your mind, Amber said.
You can't film here, the man said. That's final.
He folded his arms at Amber and kept them folded. Amber looked right back at the man. She took a step forward. The man took two steps back. Amber started to laugh.
Then she linked her arm into Astrid's arm and they went out of the entrance hall into the town bit of Norwich.

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