Monday, September 6, 2010

Storytelling Magic

In a society so driven by media influence--the newest electronic gadgets, video games, a nauseating deluge of 3D movies--it seems experiencing the live spoken word is more of a novelty than the norm.  People flock to the movie theaters to have stories told to them in a vibrant, digital bombardment of the senses.  What do we lose from this method of storytelling?  For, after all, that is what movies are--modern storytelling. 

After listening to the storytellers at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, it occurred to me that sitting in front of a live storyteller who has carefully honed their craft is the essence of what makes us human.  The storyteller shares legends, culture, and often personal experiences that knit us together.  Eye contact is made. The teller shares what he or she has to offer.  The listeners give their gift of interaction and understanding.  We are reminded that all people of the earth, no matter their land or time, desire the same things.  We all have the same emotions, desire love and acceptance, and love to laugh.  Magic occurs when attentiveness to another human being and the exercise of good listening skills are required to learn the story.

The opportunities provided by the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival through performances, workshops, conferences, and retreats encourages the perpetuation of storytelling in our modern world.  It encourages the healing and understanding within families and communities that arises from a well-told story.
Check out the festival website for more information about upcoming events. http://www.timpfest.org/

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Beautiful...and Crazy...Solitude

The independence, the creative freedom, the satisfaction of a clever turn of phrase and the thrill of an emotionally charged passage--for me, writing a novel is amazing and doesn't even feel like work.  But the solitude of writing lends itself to a problem.  Nathan Bransford, a literary agent whose blog is a favorite of mine, described it most accurately.  He refers to the writers' syndrome as the "Am I Crazies?"  http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/07/you-tell-me-how-do-you-deal-with-am-i.html 

I have completed an eight-month-long edit of my manuscript and now have queries sitting in the inboxes of literary agents.  The waiting game has begun.  I knew this process when I started.  So, on the advice of a respected writer and instructor, I am distracting myself from the insane waiting by writing another novel.  I am daily reminded of the reasons I love to write.  Take your time, dear agents, I'll have another offering for you before long.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Made a What?

Let's examine two highly-used phrases that drive me crazy.  When I am reading a piece of literature and the author tells me that a character "made their way" somewhere, I want to clear my throat and ask, "Made their what?"  A person may carve a path, scale a cliff, paddle a kayak, sneak in the shadows, scramble to their feet, and scuff their shoes on the gravel road.  They may squish in the mud, crunch in the fallen leaves, and tread on cranky Ms. Pendleton's posies.  How does a person "make" a "way"?  The phrase is worn out and starved of creativity.  I want to see the character I am reading about and I have never seen someone "make their way".

The second phrase is used in conversation: "I just wanted to touch bases".  I think I heard that phrase five times last week alone.  Can we please retire that old cliche?  While that saying may have been clever and tasty when it was first coined, its age and overuse has stolen its flavor--kind of like a baseball game hot dog.  Despite the number of times I hear people use this cliche, the next time I say I want to "touch bases" with a friend, we'd better be running around a baseball diamond together.