Friday, August 4

Red Threads

My bathroom rug was a wedding gift that i am thinking I may need to replace soon. We did not register for it, but the lady who gave it to us saw it and it matched the shower curtain she had bought us. She said that even though we didn't register for it, she thought we would like it. And I do. It is blue plaid, with two shades of blue and white. However, it has given me much to comtemplate (brushing my teeth, bathing, doing my hair) while in the bathroom. There is a single red thread that hangs out with the fringe.

I wonder...Is it like one of those threads you see on your sleeve that you pull and when you do the entire hem on your sleeve comes undone? Was it a secret joke someone in the factory has played on us? Do they lie in bed at night smiling about the confused people somewhere in the world who have a blue plaid rug with a single red thread?

Dan Yashinsky did a workshop at NSN's National conference- the only workshop i got to go to- called something like "Suspense: the red thread of storytelling." I have been thinking more of my bathroom rug since I got back from Pittsburgh.

There is something supremely artful about the one lingering question that pulls the story togehter (or apart- like my sleeve). Dan's workshop was really more of one big question: how do we keep suspense in our stories? Without suspense there is no reason to continue listening. It's like the preview I saw at the movies- I have no desire to see it now because I know all about what is going to happen in the next Russel Crowe film- they showed me the basic story in the preview. So do I go, just to see Russel Crowe without a shirt? I can get thrills like that at home.

Instead- I look for something that has revelation. Something that lights up my eyes and makes me say, "oh!"

In my quest as a storyteller (in case you forgot, I'm still on a journey, here!) I am looking for the source of the thread. I want to be able to spin my own.


This evening i saw a movie that made my eyes light up and I say "oh!'
It's called "The Lady in the Water." I am pretty sure it won't be a million-dollar-movie, but it will be like my bathroom rug: something I contemplate for a long time.

How has this young man come to grasp the secret principals of a fairy tale (of the very life force of story!) so deeply that he was able to weave one of his own- complete with a red thread that I know he spun himself? I am envious and inspired and awed. Is it really such a stretch that people, today could hunger that way, to believe that magic could exist int he world? I won't give it away- like all of M. Night Shaymalan's movies, it is a work of art, from his camera angles to the subtl humor in the dialogue, to the pure wonder that it invokes. Not everyone will like it. Not everyone has survived trying to read Joseph Cambell and sought to apply those ambiguously articulated principals to the art that runs a deep stream somewhere beneath the skin of her soul.


One last thought. Months ago I talked about starting The Artists Way again- with the actual attempt to get somewhere past the first 60 pages. My inner artist is suffocating under grant administration and concert production details and... life. I basically failed at the attempt to start then, but I feel like I really will suffocate if I am not able to nurture that aspect of myself soon. I've started keeping my journal again. That helps because it is so creative and so personal. There is a lot of introspection there. If anyone knows of any good websites or blogs on keeping a journal or with a lot of writing prompts, please share!


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