Thursday, April 26, 2012
Fairy Tale Journeys: Storytelling, Media & Framing
Posted by Mr VI
Do me a favour and think about beginnings, would you?
Specifically, think about that moment, that gap before you start something new - the moment; that breath you take before you begin to speak, when you're moving thought into speech.or idea into movement.
Think about reaching out to grasp something, maybe picking up that mug of tea or coffee, or perhaps closing your hand around something and lifting it. Moving it from one place to another. Most of us us don't think about such things, which is why I ask it of you as a favour.
After all, there's a lot that you do without thinking, and I don't know if for you, the reader, it's simply habit or muscle memory that carries you through life. I don't know how you move when you walk, how the weight of your body feels as you plant one foot in front of the other, how it shifts as you're increasing speed, as you're avoiding obstacles.
I don't know what kind of joy you take in getting to where you want to go, and I certainly couldn't guess how you'll feel after a day on your feet, doing all that you need to, day after day, minute after minute, hour after hour.
More to the point, I don't know what it's like to begin to walk, while your mind is on other things - to just blithely amble along. You probably didn't know either, until I asked you to think about it, as a beginning.
I asked you this favour because I don't know any of that, and nor will I ever do so. I can't go for a stroll, for a jog, for a run - there's no sidling, no sashaying; no hopping, skipping and jumping. No hopscotch, no tag, no home runs, no tries, no touchdowns.
I'm curious, you see. So do me a favour and think about beginnings, about the transition between not walking, and walking. Between silence and speech, and thought and action.
I can't walk.
I can however, tell stories, which is why I'm here, and why I'm asking.
Now, to provide background, I was born brain damaged due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. There's dead matter inside my skull, and despite quite a lot of training and cross-wiring, some bits just don't work. I was resuscitated a couple of times - brought back from somewhere else.
Death, such as it is - as an idea, as a metaphor, as a physiological blueprint - flowered beautifully in my brain. Some days I can feel it there, but it's not inert. No, on the contrary it posesses a life of its own. It dances on the edge, an avatar of an unknown place - a lurker at the threshold, the thing on the doorstep.
So, that's my beginning. Life and death twined together - the umbilical cord of life becoming the noose. Somewhere in between, that's me, and stories often concern an in between, that country or time which everyone knows the existence of but to which few have been.
The terra icognita, if you like. Thule, Hyperborea, Atlantis, the Otherworld, Tír na nÓg. The weird inter-dimensional space where the Machine Elves live. I could go on and on, but I suspect you get my drift, because you're here and you're reading this, and you're doing me a favour and thinking about beginnings.
Really, beginnings and endings are similar things. They're markers, and we often whiz by them without noticing. Where does one moment, one experience end, and another begin? If you start thinking about that, you might start noticing things.
You might start noticing, for example that there's been a plethora of fairy tales reemerging into media, from films on Red Riding Hood to Snow White and the Huntsman, or maybe various television shows like Grimm or Once Upon A Time. I've talked about the deep neurological structure before, about how stories affect the world.
You might start noticing the frames and tricks people use in advertising, to propel you to times and places, as diverse as childhood and experiences of sexual arousal.
You might be surprised by how much you will start noticing that you are noticing, and then forgetting about that same noticing. If everything is about beginnings and endings, then perhaps they are, in some sense the same, portals and ways into the new.
Storytelling happens everywhere, with every recounting, every communication. Every time you share an experience, or one is shared with you.
So how do you become storytellers?
Surely, the first step is in realising that you already are, by virtue of being human? But maybe, just maybe, you want to be more, to embrace the role of the storyteller, on a mythic level.
A bit like that, hmm?
Maybe you wonder how we do it, how we begin, how we make it look so easy to bring a little of that terra incognita, that unknown country to you - so as to pull you in and transport you?
It is quite simple. As easy as you walking, as easy as your breathing. Because quite simply, there is no thought to it, no will. Anyone and anything can provide the source, can be designated marker.
Can be the herma - the head at the boundary which signposts the way to travellers. That sacred shrine to Hermes, patron of tricksters, thieves and wanderers. So, as you're thinking about walking, about breathing - wonder at this.
What kind of experience is walking without walking?
Be seeing you.
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