Thursday, June 12, 2008

a week of illness and an examination of storytelling

For the last three days or so I've been in bed sick. It's not too horribly pleasant. On the upside I was able to comendeer a few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from my girlfriend. I'm just now done with the second season. It was very very good. I'm likely one of the few fans of Firefly who had never seen any buffy. My girlfriend absolutely loves the show. I can see why of course, It's told very well and has good strong female characters.
That's certainly one reason I like it. I'm always interested in stories that put people who are written in a real way into situations which are by their very nature contrived. I've always had a thing for science fiction. The literature of ideas intrigues me. Ultimately it's characters who most take me out of my world, and in these situations which are completely new, it is amazing to see the way that characters work.
I imagine that many people would put the reading of fiction, watching of films, and listening to music into the enjoyable but mostly useless category. I don't think so. There was a good argument in a "introduction to Criticism" class that I went to a few sessions of. If someone writes about something, Whaling for instance, are they really an expert on it. For advice about whaling would you read Moby Dick, or would you want to speak to someone who spent their life whaling?
That is the general view of the worth of stories. What I think people miss is that they are their own study. I'm very interested in psychology and people, and stories are a very interesting way to explore. The insights I already have I feel I have gotten from reading and writing stories. Characters are rarely written to be completely human, but even when that is the case each of them must have very particular human characteristics. We deal with humans all the time and when we read a novel we have a feel for if the characters feel real or not. Reading stories give us a chance to see what is true of humanity by looking at what isn't. If a character feels false, feels dead, then there must be something not human about them. If a character feels vibrant there is a wealth of humanity filling them. This applies not only to human characters. Anything written by a human is ultimately about humans.
This could work out to essay size, and perhaps it will some time, but for now I'm going to go back to the work of getting better.

Until next time.

No comments: