Friday, October 3, 2008

Random thoughts about a post on "Love's Labors Lost"

I want to practice and promote reading people's blogs as a way of getting closer to them, learning from them and finding ways to support and encourage them and serve their interests. Just now I'm reading "Bonsai Theater" on "Love's Labors Lost." I had some thoughts that I wanted to post somewhere, and I decided to post them here.

I had never heard of the "4th wall," so I yahooed "fourth wall" with "'theater." I found a Wikipedia article about it and had lots of fun reading it.

LLL: "The very act of living is a drama."

I thought of how I use my own life as a medium for my art, and about finding other people who do that too.

LLL: "Forests, oceans, deserts, mountains - all have eons of narrative, ages of plot behind them."

I thought of my experiences with listening to trees.

LLL: "Like the geek I am, I read the little display plaques talking about where bonsai come from, how they're shaped, what they mean."

That's what I do, too.

LLL: "So as I was looking at the bonsai, I thought of them as miniature models for a story. I took in the details about each one, wondering what its story was. A trunk bent at a severe angle recalls a powerful storm that razed the land. A blue bowl was more than an aesthetic touch - it was the suggestion of water. What body of water? Where? What happened near or beneath the tree? Who or what was involved?"

I've been trying to learn to immerse myself in my surroundings. One way I've learned is to look for what I call "impressions." The way one branch of a tree crosses in front of another, or the broken bricks in a sidewalk, might have an impression on me that's like a friend from long ago or a long-forgotten memory. I especially look for impressions that I have no words for.

Some years ago I started wondering about what makes little incidents in movies seem so significant when the same thing would mean so little to me in my everyday life. A falling leaf for example. I imagine it's because the attention focused on it in the movie tells me that it means something. When I started learning to immerse myself in my surroundings, I started having feelings about the significance of things around me like the feelings I have watching movies, and I liked it a lot.

LLL: "The process is quite Zen, 'empty,' because the active part is invisible . . ."

I yahooed "zen" with "invisible" and with "empty," and found the story about the Zen master pouring tea for the professor.

LLL: "Let us imagine that I'm just giving you small slices of the overall story . . ."

In the Darmok episode of "Star Trek, the Next Generation," Captain Picard learns how to communicate with the Tamarians, whose language has previously defied all attempts by the Federation to understand it. Rather than directly narrating what they're thinking, their language uses imagery to convey their ideas and feelings. "Timba, his arms wide" means something like "Here, this is for you." "Sinda, his face black, his eyes red" might mean "I'm very angry."

Some of the imagery is in slices from Tamarian mythology. "The river Tamock, in winter," means something like a demand for silence, or maybe peace or cessation of hostile action.

For more examples, see Toward a Tamari Vocabulary.

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I was just posting thoughts that came to me while I was reading the post. Now I'm thinking that free association like this might help me learn more from a person's post, and get to know her better.

Now I want to read the post again a few more times, hoping to see and feel more of what the author is seeing and feeling.

3 comments:

RVCBard said...

Not a big Star Trek fan, but the Tamari sound cool. For some reason, I think I'd get along with them. I tend to feel like I'm "translating" feelings and impressions all the time anyway. It makes social interaction pretty exhausting.

I might feature something like that in the dialogue of my next piece, or perhaps the next rewrite of "The Rose Knight"

Jim Habegger said...

It's like that for me, too. I think in images and feelings more than in words sometimes, and sometimes it's very hard for me to find words to explain them to other people.

Randy Burns said...

Human language can be a lot like Tamarian when you think about it.

Cheers, Randy