Tag: storytelling

Mannequin Monday: Reborn

shortfiction24

Only Dead Fish Swim with the Current

An apt quote from Ernest Hemingway. When I focused my blog on short fiction well over a year ago, I had thought the title “Mannequin Monday” was a clever takeoff on “Manic Monday.” Every week words would drape the bare mannequin, clothing it in story. I added quirky mannequin photos to supplement each post. I have certainly enjoyed posting to it weekly. But “Mannequin Monday” has evolved into an ill-fitting name.

I have re-designed my blog to reflect more accurately my writing interests, my author identity. I now term it shortfiction24

I’ve been a presence on the internet for 12 years. I started with my filmmaker site in late 2009, added a blog about storytelling (now merged into the filmmaker site), then developed my current blog, this one my author site. I’ve also written a handful of non-fiction and fiction books in that time.

In those 12 years I have seen many of my original internet interviewees and connections change their online identities, their site logos, their purposes. Some simply moved from one social media outlet to another. Others have changed careers or even disappeared from the internet. 

For a time I found it puzzling how they all changed, thinking it displayed inconsistency. But recently I am realizing how normal this is. Change is normal. Stuck in a time warp is not.

Maria Popova has re-titled her popular Brain Pickings newsletter, now calling it Marginalian. “Becoming the Marginalian: after 15 years, Brain Pickings reborn.” Popova says that many things in life are beyond our control. “But amid our slender repertoire of agency are the labels we choose for our labors of love — the works of thought and tenderness we make with the whole of who we are.”

an ill-fitting name

She further says, “As we evolve — as we add experiences, impressions, memories, deepening knowledge and self-knowledge to the combinatorial pool from which all creative work springs — what we make evolves accordingly; it must, if we are living widely and wisely enough.” Her realization: Brain Pickings had evolved into “an ill-fitting name.” Time for change, for growth.

I once interviewed a Dutch video journalist named Ruud Elmendorp, who has covered Africa for various news services for many years. Ruud is now beginning a new journey filming from a large ship as it roams the Mediterranean Sea searching for immigrants in need of rescue. He has been posting video and his personal thoughts as he begins this journey, seeking a new purpose.

book cover for Keep It Moving, by Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp, in her book Keep It Moving, talks of growing and changing as we age. Of not being stuck in the past. She says, “Your objective is to free yourself to be whatever and whoever you need to be right now.”

I am seeing changes in my own identity and purpose. For years I wrote non-fiction. The move to writing fiction was difficult. Still is. I have now further evolved (at least for the moment!) from writing full length novels to focusing on short fiction. Writing a novel, and then trying to market said novel, is quite difficult. And time-consuming.

I have come to enjoy writing short fiction. Hence the change in my blog from “Mannequin Monday” to shortfiction24. The 24 honors my wife Lynn, born on the 24th of one month, years ago, died on the 24th of another month, in 2020. The image of a cupcake is one of Lynn’s creations, drawn digitally to create a simple greeting card. The cupcake represents a small story bite.

Writing short fiction is, for me, perhaps an outgrowth of writing exercises for the writing courses I have taken in recent years. I’ve worked through three online MOOC courses with the International Writing Program (IWP) of the University of Iowa. Each course involved writing exercises. And I currently belong to a small writing group which is an offshoot of IWP alums. I have also taken a short course in journaling, again with short writing pieces as a daily requirement. 

just keep swimming…

I have evolved through many iterations in my lifetime, yet I believe I have remained rooted in who I am. None of my changes have been total disconnects. As Tharp says, “When making big choices in our lives, the best course is to recognize continuity in our intention. Thus we are neither repudiating nor repeating the past but, rather, respecting it as we move on.”

As Hemingway says, “Only dead fish swim with the current.” And as Disney’s Dory says, “Just keep swimming…swimming.” We keep moving. Always upstream, if we are alive.

My blog shortfiction24 will remain true to its core, storytelling. A new story will appear next week, and every week. And more discussion on storytelling.

I hope you continue to celebrate story with me. Thanks for loving story as I do. Storytelling makes the world go round.

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Mannequin Monday – Read One Book Before I Die

Mannequin Monday – Read One Book Before I Die

A Monday that stands out. Memorial Day. Starting the week with story. Clothing the naked form with our words, images, clay, pencil. To honor our fallen military heroes, I found a couple of stories you may enjoy. One about an old veteran who never forgets, that comes from Daily Kos, May 2015. Another is from The Week. Also about a WWII veteran.

And I include another sample of my own writing: a stripped down Porsche chassis.

Continue reading

Movies to Help Kids Fall in Love with Cinematography

Cinematography is more than stunning visuals

“Raindance is dedicated to fostering and promoting independent film around the world. Based in the heart of London, Raindance combines Raindance Film Festival, training courses — which are offered throughout the year at our 10 international hubs — and the British Independent Film Awards.”

In discussing how films can influence young people’s love for film, Raindance says, “…cinematography is more than stunning visuals, and movie-loving kids have plenty of opportunities to understand the power of storytelling, acting and between-the-lines messages.”

Los Angeles - USA - October 31, 2015: Replica of the Back to the Future DeLorean during Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Los Angeles – USA – October 31, 2015: Replica of the Back to the Future DeLorean during Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

They go on to say, “It is not that hard to get children interested in films, but now that your little cinema buff caught the taste for it, it’s time to feed his passion with well-selected titles. Once they fall in love with cinema, this feeling will burn bright in their hearts forever, but the first steps into this world of wonder are essential to keep that fire going.”

Their recommended films are:

  • The Harry Potter Series
  • Jumanji
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Frozen
  • Mary Poppins
  • Peter Pan
  • The Lion King
  • Coraline
  • Back to the Future I
  • Inside Out

Here’s the link to Raindance’s article: “10 Movies that Will Make Any Kid Fall in Love with Cinematography.”

Enjoy these films, or share them with young people you know.

 

The Moon, Mars, and Alpha Centauri

Four years ago I wrote a post in my Creating Story blog about seeing Ray Bradbury at a 2009 book signing in a local bookstore.

Bradbury had arrived in a wheelchair, a rumpled man with a huge shock of white hair. He filled the room with excitement.

After speaking  for a few moments, he had fielded questions from his fans. Someone asked him what he thought the future held for our young generation. He sat up tall in his wheelchair, his eyes sparkling, and almost cried out, “We should go back to the moon! Go on to Mars, with the moon as a base camp. Then go on to Alpha Centauri.”

the moon, Mars, and Alpha CentauriHere was a master storyteller who spent a lifetime exploring this world and the entire universe in his imagination. His voice quivered with excitement when he told us of his own recent visit to the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, California. The JPL scientists guided him as he drove the Mars Rover on the surface of the same planet he had visited in his imagination since The Martian Chronicles. This from a man who never had a driver’s license in all of his then almost 90 years,

This is the power of story.  Travel back to the moon. Probe the vast universe.

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