More than one way to tell a story

Earlier this week I decided for real to quit NaNo and focus on the other things that are important now. Among these things are for example my minions, some of my work, and my mental and physical health. For the latter: I haven’t swum much since but I will today for sure. And for the rest: the minions still seem to be happy enough, my work is still not getting out of hand which is a Win, and for my mental health… Let’s just say that there is more than one way to tell a story.

The main focus of telling stories in our society is usually on writing. It may result in a book or a film or a stage play but the heart of it is still always writing. And then there is the actual ‘storytelling’ art form, for which I have considerable respect and very little talent, but that also comes down to words. It is writing in real time, if you will.

No. I have come to realise that for me this is a limited way of approaching how to convey a story. I have friends who live in the internet, as well as in various places in the US, and they are artists. One is a painter, one makes ceramics. I have mentioned them before. Their work can be classified as ‘folk art’ – I think – and it is quite beautiful. I have some of Shelly Bedsaul’s work around the house in small ACEO’s and I love it. Stacy Morgan’s octopus mugs didn’t make it across the ocean just yet, unfortunately.

Both of these artists, Shelly and Stacy, are very fine storytellers. Sure, they are interesting people enough to fill not one but several evenings of wine, yap and song but that’s not what I mean. I mean that they have a strong opinion about what it means to be an artist, and they have found ways to convey what they have to bring to the world through what they make. With their hands. Actual things that people handle, love and take home. (Although not enough of course so support these artists! Here and here.)

And I miss that.

With all my brainy exercise of sitting behind a computer and trying to mould the world with words, I have forgotten to mould the world in real life: by making things. As I wrote for NaNo I felt myself get resentful towards my characters – never a good sign – because I felt that they were leaning on me to make their decisions. This was odd: usually my characters make themselves and they amaze me with their personalities as the story progresses. Not this time. It was a wait-and-obey situation. That was not good.

So I started making something for myself. I made a notebook. And then another, using a different technique. And then yet another, using yet another technique. That feels good. I need to work on my skills and repeat them over and over until I know what to do right and when I’m doing it wrong but – and this is important! – I want to learn this.

It will not make me rich and famous. But it might just make me a little more happy with how I tell my story.

Pictures of the books I made will be in the next post because I don’t have them on the current device I type this on. Heh. Or you can check out Instagram – see right side of this page.

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