Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Random Acts in Story - For the Love of Art

As someone who has and does paint and art-work recreationally, photographs for recreation and professionally (https://simonbrooksstoryteller.wordpress.com/), played in bands trying to make a living, as well as making a living as a storyteller currently, I do these things, these art forms for the love of the art itself. For me, and this is not the same for everyone I am guessing, a lot of randomness comes about when creating. All of the following is how I come about an end result. With song and music, especially working with another, there is a bouncing of ideas, you play a piece, and one person might go in one direction,which sparks a random idea in someone else, and so on. With art, I sometimes let the pen or brush run around and something comes from it, sometimes it does not. I might make a scribble, or add an element from someone else's work to see what happens.
Bird in bush of blue blobs

With stories, there is much randomness in how I work and present. Some might call it sloppy, but it really isn't. I play around a lot with my tales - having done all the research I want to do (usually way more than I would EVER need). I goof with them. I give the characters body shapes, ways of walking, speaking, how they scratch their face, or lean to one side when talking. I play out scenarios with the characters which are not in the story. I put them in odd, current, and traditional situations, or add another character from another story to see what happens to them all. Sometimes, during a performance, something random will happen, a sound or noise, a distraction, a kids comment, the way an adult is looking at me, someone walks in late and a thought pops into my mind, and I will play off it. I am not trained in improv, I simply goof around. Sometimes an ending might change. Usually not, but it has happened. Sometimes a story that might be 10 minutes long in a 'normal' situation suddenly takes 5 minutes, or 15-20 minutes to tell, because of what is going on around me. It is the way I am. I can be polished and refined, but I love to goof around.
Show at summer camp, 2015

Try finding a copy of Elvis Presley performing in Vegas, doing Suspicious Minds - the movie is called Elvis: That's The Way It Is. He has rehearsed, and practiced, but there is such freedom in what he does, not too choreographed, there is some looseness and randomness - play.

Not everyone does that, or can do that, or maybe more accurately: chooses to do that. Compare Frank Sinatra to Dean Martin, or Elvis! And it is not about drugs or booze, at least for me it's not. It's playfulness. For me it is opening myself up to what might happen. Taking a tale to the edge, holding it over the edge, and then bringing it back - to see what happens, what random things may occur.

For me, it's not the time one spends on writing a song, or album's worth of material, it is not the research which goes into writing (fiction and non-fiction), or the time it takes to put layer upon layer of paint, or paper, or other media together, or the versions we read (or I read) of stories, what research into the culture I do when working on a story, (even if I never use any of it) - it is done for the finished product. I read or hear something, and think about what I can do, what I would add, do differently, to create something new and then work towards it. I hope it will come out, and if it fails, try other tricks, acts of randomness, to see what I need to do to make it better, or to get closer to how I want it, or envisioned it.

 And sometimes it just happens. But isn't that just totally random too?
Same place, this year - 2016!

Not sure if this is a right way of doing things, really these are just some thoughts. It works for me! I hope the thoughts inspire you!

© 2016

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Poem in July

The silence of the early morning
And the solitude of dawn comes
With groaning trees, and wind whispers,
Light that is low, shadows long, and highlights bright.
The call of an unseen bird,
The scent of an unseen animal,
Linger in the air with the soft footfall
Of my leather boots, and dog’s steady trot.
Staying close to me, her ears and eyes look for the unseen.
My own mind making up stories of this place once peopled,
Now left to the trees and plants, reclaiming
What has always been theirs – the waiting now over.
Stone walls outline where fields once lay.
Holes collapsed reveal old cellars, foundations.
Nails in trees which might have once held a gate,
Or fence, barely visible, consumed by the trunk slowly, slowly.
Flat land, cleared of rocks now populated
With tall grass, and bright field flowers,
Hiding a rusted fender or engine from the 40’s
Reminders of a garden long gone, and family forgotten.
The silence of these early morning rambles
With my dark canine friend loping beside me.
We investigate together, making up our own stories
Of who was here and who will come after.

Photo by Simon Brooks, © 2016
Copyright (text and image) Simon Brooks, 2016 ©