04 March 2009

Remember to Write . . .

Friend WHftTS has been writing. He/She/It is very good about doing it, and also good (though perhaps I should say "grood") about writing about when he/she/it doesn't do it. And thankfully, I have been invited into that rewarding little world of writing writers who appreciate the act of writing and writing about said act. We've made a small collaboration by writing a couple of short stories within the same world -- a world WHftTS created -- and exchanging thoughts and critiques on them. It rules.

Some of my RPG buddies wonder why I can't get thrilled about games that involve a lot of combat and strategy. I think it's because I always have some small voice at the back of my head that says, "I know this story, and it only has two possible endings." I love narrative, and I love storytelling, and I am really enjoying having someone with whom I can discuss the craft behind it all. It's still very mysterious to me, how words (not to rule out images, melodies, etc.) can be built together to create responses in us, and how the best of those creations can work over and over again, personally affecting each reader, or audience member, or writer. Storytelling, I think, is the overlap between my various appreciations for theatre, cinema, reading and writing. It often makes me wish I was a better storyteller, because while I sometimes do well with crafting such things, actually being the one to tell a story is not something at which I usually excel. An actor does some of this, but not alone, not directly. Storytellers, as such, are rather magical people to me.

Expatriate Younce and I had a summer in which we shared these "assignments" with one another. They could be anything at all, really, from scavenger hunt to essay writing. It was pretty awesome. (That being said, I hope and pray none of my completed assignments ever appear on these here internetz [Buddy Younce, I'm looking in your direction...].) It was a way of having new frameworks with which to work in doing something creative, or interpretive. This always appeals to me, whether I complete a given assignment or not, because it keeps creativity in the realm of a dialogue. This idea of dialogue, communication, extroversion, fuels me somehow as a creative person. That's part of why this here 'blog is the best journaling I've ever accomplished, why live theatre is the work to which I've given the most of my efforts. It's rewarding but, more importantly I think, it is shared.

In the spirit of that: Please think of one of your favorite stories. Now, think of the best delivery you ever received of said story, be it a personal telling, a movie, a book, etc. Now, imagine the best possible delivery of that story for you -- the medium, the person or people involved, the environment, the works. Seriously: Please write your responses in "reactions" for this entry. I'm really curious. It doesn't have to be an ultimate answer; it just has to be one of your favorites.
Ever thine,



dave said...

I am still looking forward to the Lycanthrope story you told me you would write some years ago. Don't make me start posting excerpts from your past assignments as 'incentives'.

Jeff Wills said...

TWO can play at THAT game, Mr. Younce!

But please don't.


*sigh* Lycanthropes it is...

Coley said...

One of my favourite stories is that power of one's mind. Reading a book and believing in its fantasy so much that it actually becomes your reality. Where everything is perfect- or as it seems- with riddles to keep you on your toes and further exercise your mind. At least, that's the story I love when I watched "Labyrinth". I know I know- 80s movie with Bowie in spandex, but great context.

I'd love to develop that to the stage. But the twist is with the physicality. A dream sequence of movement- not dance...movement. It'd be a lot of fun in my eyes.
Now I'm hoping this burst of creativity fit your challenge.

Jeff Wills said...

It certainly does, Coley, and thanks for posting it. I love "Labyrinth" too. How can you not? It's got PUPPETS, for heaven's sakes.

Patrick said...

I'm intrigued by this challenge, but am having trouble with it. I'm not sure I've ever thought of a story separately from the medium before. Hmm. There have been several versions of the Arthurian story that I've loved, all of them novels (Once and Future King, Merlin Trilogy of Mary Stewart, Mists of Avalon). I love Mary Renault's retelling of the Theseus myth (King Must Die and Bull from the Sea)... But then to think of 'the best possible delivery of the story', it becomes an apples and oranges question, I think. Novels can do certain things, plays others, films still others... intriguing set of questions, let me get back to you.

Kara Tyler said...

I agree with Patrick about Mists of Avalon, I love retellings of stories, Red Tent, The Veiled series, "O" with Makai Pheiffer. I think it takes and incredible talent to retell a classic story and keep the integrity of the original intact.

The best story though was told already and not by me. Tom Waits and Phillip Glass redid the story of Alice at BAM in 1998. It was the most genius telling of Alice intertwined with an exploration of the mind of Lewis Carrol. It made the mind of an obsessed pedophile sympathetic and beautiful.

I have the CD of it. It was an Operetta done in German but lyrics were in English. Unfortunately the CD has Tom Waits doing all of the vocals, which while I love him ruins some of the mysticism of the piece. The song "You haven't looked at me that way in Years" (you should have a copy of it...) actually made me cry during the show and took most of the intermission for me to recover from.

In general the medium I prefer is the written word, my own lack of creativity has a guided outlet and to become fully immersed in another world is a rare treat. Books in general can't be long enough for me. A Suitable Boy's 700 pages only made me want more. Homer and The Illiad could have used a few more decades in it. The Dune Series didn't have enough details. I still reread the Clan of the Cave Bear series. I never said I had GOOD taste :)

There have been times when a film, play or composition can transport me in that way but it is extremely rare.

Jeff Wills said...

Great feedback, guys, and thanks.

Patrick: I don't see that it's necessarily apples-and-oranges to me, but it's interesting to hear you describe it as such. I hope you will get back to me on the remainder of the question, here or in person. I think the HOW of the story is a very personal opinion.

Kara: I'll have to remember to look up that "Alice" at Lincoln Center sometime; thanks for the recommendation. So is that your answer for best experienced, best possibly to experience? Or do you think a novel version of the same story could, somhow, be even more fulfilling to you?

Greg said...

What's better than having other writers around to encourage one another...? I'll second this interest in more about lycanthropes.

I'm not sure what my answer would be here...but you make me think of the difference between seeing a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and reading the story of one in a very memorable issue of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN.

Jeff Wills said...

Is it possible for one to have a werewolf on one's back?

Thank you for citing that comparison, Greg. It's an interesting one. You couldn't exactly call Gaiman's comic a re-telling (or even telling) of "Midsummer," yet it's interesting to compare a theatre production with a comic (not to mention a script).