Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Primavera as Classical Narrative

C  -----------  B  ------------- A
In a Medici courtyard…
Sandro: The picture is classical and the plot is likewise classical.

Lorenzo: How say you?

Sandro: It is a right to left narration.

Lorenzo: We read from left to right.

Sandro: Direction does not matter. Harken to the story. At right, there is Zephyrus, the March wind. He captures Chloris and she becomes the goddess of spring, Flora. See, she scatters roses thus.

Lorenzo: And the woman at the center of the story?

Sandro: It is no earthly woman. That is Venus, attended by the Three Graces.

Lorenzo: They seem to spurn Chloris.

Sandro: Nay, they turn their backs on Zephyrus with his earthy love. Instead, they lean towards Mercury who loves knowledge.

The Primavera is a depiction of one part of Ovid’s Fasti, a poem explaining the earlier Roman (not Julian) calendar. It is linear, and thus classical, beginning in January and ending in June. But critics say in places it is so allegorical as to border on erroneous. As such, Ovid’s narrative is also said to be fragmentary and difficult. He left it unfinished. Post-classical narrative?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Narrative Mapping on an Angry Birds Trajectory?

Mapping a Narrative Trajectory
Two narratologists explore how to map a trajectory…

Roland: A story starts off with characters. A problem, it may be another character, or an event like a war, ushers in a problem. A conflict ensues. A resolution emerges.

Raymond: Similar to what Bremond calls a state of deficiency or a satisfactory state, progressing through a procedure of improvement and ends usually with the establishment of a satisfactory state?

Roland: It begins at A, rising to B, and falls back to C. We might call this a narrative trajectory. Like mapping an Angry Birds trajectory.

Raymond: Classical narratives such as fairy tales might be mapped like this. But what about post-classical narratives, with flashbacks and flashforwards? An Angry Birds trajectory can’t show that.
The answer to what a post-classical narrative trajectory looks is a flashback to tomorrow’s post.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Verb-head-driven Sentences, Adverb-head-driven Sentences and Preposition-head-driven Sentences

Ted and Ned on Retirement...
Ted: You don't have to work anymore. What will you do? Retire to the beach?

Ned: No way! You know what they say! Go down there. Lie in a deck chair. Die nowhere.

Ted: So how to avoid that? Where do you go? Elsewhere? Somewhere? Anywhere?

Ned: On a journey. To the west. For music.

Ted: Hmm.

Journey to the West on Green Machine
Ned: By motorcycle. Around China. With a drum.

Ted: Meaning you may be seen, in a new routine, on a green machine, beating a tambourine?

We wish Ned well, and that besides music, he learns other sentence openings than serial verbs, prepositions and adverbs. And that Ted and Ned both develop a subtler sense of rhyming. That said, their three-part metrical rhyming doggerels have a certain insouciance reflecting their youthful agedness...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tanabata, Pegasus and Laputa

An exchange student rewrites a Japanese myth…
Eiko: July 7 is Tanabata.

Starlight: Tana – what?

Eiko: Orihime, the WeaverPrincess and Hikoboshi, the CowHerderStar, were married. There was a leadup to this but we'll skip that. Once married they got a bit lazy, weaving and cow herding. Orihime's father became annoyed and stuck them on opposite sides of the Milky Way and allowed them to meet only once a year, and only then if they had done their work diligently for a year. So every July 7 they can cross the Milky Way and meet on a bridge made of wings of magpies flying together.

Starlight: MAGPIE wings?

Eiko: Sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn’t it? Maybe these days they might use FaceBook, or Skype each other?

Starlight: Out of keeping with the original story. How about… (thinks) How about that winged horse, Pegasus, flies down and carries them to some meeting place?

Eiko: I know. Up to Laputa, Castle in the Sky.

Guest Blogger “Starlight” came up with this incredibly credible contemporary ending: Pegasus flying the pair to Laputa for their annual holiday. All the more apt for a Milky Way location since Pegasus is a star constellation. And the link to Miyazaki Hayao’s Laputa revitalizes Tanabata into a modern myth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reductionist Rabbit

White Rabbit White Rabbit White Rabbit

July features this notable abstract work titled "Reductionist Rabbit." Certain critics have lampooned this London Look of M. Lapin as "Geometric Hare", "Bauhaus Bunny," and "Minimal Mammal".

Sincere expressions of interest to purchase this notable work which can only decline as an investment as the years pass are invited.

White Rabbit on orange card (6 cm x 4 cm).

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Merging Film and Social Media

Asked about a conference…
Rima: It’s on Film and Media.

Pru: Papers linking film and media? 

Rima: Mostly they’re on film or they’re on media. An exception was a panel on the changing face of filmmaking. One paper was on a Pakistan film. Made cheaply using cell phone and DSLR camera. Strong story, man is shot. Censorable content and couldn’t be posted on YouTube. So it was posted to Vimeo. Despite this, it garnered 40,000 ‘Likes’.

Pru: Not bad.

Rima: Another presenter emphasized that even films made by smartphones can go viral if their story is strong.

Pru: How does a video go viral?

Rima: Social media. That presenter said he employs a full time website manager, blog writer and FaceBook writer to publicize his films.

Pru: Hmm, a merging of film and social media then. Another role to tack onto the credit list.

Social media is labor intensive. But it’s a crucial PR tool for creative artists. Generating the contacts, writing blogs, creating a fanbase, administering forums are necessary to attract an audience.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Can an artificial cactus die?

Artificial (?) Cactus
From the National Radio Gardening Program...
Caller: I'm a beginner at caring for plants but I have a question. How often need I water my cactus?

Cactusman: Depends on the species. Some succulents like a drink once or twice a week. Others can go months. What kind of cactus is yours?

Caller: I don't know. It's plump and green with longish spikes. I didn't water it for 6 months and it seemed fine, no change.

Cactusman: Could be an Acharagma ... They can go a long time without water.

Caller: Might it be an artificial cactus? The green looked too green and it never seemed to be growing. Do artificial cacti need water?

Cactusman: Well, yes, this does sound like you might have an artificial cactus. I can't think why that would need water.

Caller: Then I left it for two months and it collapsed into a soggy heap. Can artificial cacti die?

Cactusman: A very good question. (Pauses) Depends on what kind of death really. (Grimaces) Perhaps it was insects, mold, bacteria, or even a virus. There are many causes. (Grins) Of course, artificial plants are sometimes disposed of by their enemies. There is the odd person who actually aren't sympathetic to cacti. Can't think why.

There is a subtext of Q & A going on here. The caller is setting up Cactusman to say something foolish. Cactusman realizes this, and from the mire, fires a final shot "depends on what kind of death..." But it's really too little, too late. He's struggling in the mud. Be wary of openings like, "I don't know much about this field but..."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Stories and Characters

Michael: Short stories leave me dissatisfied. Not enough time to get to know the characters. Even longer novels, I often feel sad as the ending approaches. Every day I open the book and see what the characters are up to and what challenges they are facing and how they get over them.

Hanna: The characters enter your life.

Michael: So, so, so. I don’t want the story to end because then they’ll be gone from my life.

Hanna: So the story is not just about suspense. You’re not just waiting to see what will happen next.

Michael: There is suspense. Yes. But it’s how the individual characters face their problems, how they get over them. The suspense is as much about WHO did something as simply WHAT happened.

Hanna: Yeah. I can't put "Unbroken" down.

Happier times...
Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He hoped to win a medal in the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo. The war came, Louis went up in an aircraft and came down in the Pacific. Floated 46 days on a life raft, was captured by the Japanese, ended up in Tokyo. Every event seemed to get worse. The screws tightened. Just as you thought, he can’t take any more, things can’t get any worse, and something worse did happen to him. Every trial he faced he had to think of a new strategy. It was Louie who drove the story.