Telling a story can be a messy business, as evidenced by the floor of the studio as I try to work out a new storyboard for Kismet. I cut and glue, trace shapes onto a ground plan and try to visualize in my head all the different pieces and parts of this rather complex tale.
A writer who I find always has wise things to say about storytelling is Philip Pullman, the author of the series His Dark Materials. Pullman recently published a collection of his retellings of Grimm’s fairytales. In his introduction, he talks about various conventions and ideas of good storytelling and he ends with a personal superstition that I found delightful. He says:
‘I believe that every story is attended by its own sprite, whose voice we embody when we tell the tale and that we tell it more successfully if we approach the sprite with a certain degree of respect and courtesy. These sprites are both old and young, male and female, sentimental and cynical, sceptical and credulous, and so on, and what’s more, they’re completely amoral…the story-sprites are willing to serve whoever is telling the tale. To the accusation that this is nonsense, that all you need to tell a story is a human imagination, I reply ‘Of course, and this is the way my imagination works.’
I hope that the story sprite in charge of the story of Kismet is kind to us over the next several months as we try to tell this story to the best of our ability!
This is my favorite post so far. Thanks for sharing Cecilia. I have this superstition too only I think of it a bit differently. I think we channel different parts of the universe through storytelling. That might be a bit vague. Let me see if I can say elucidate a bit. Often those “parts of the universe” I referred to are aspects of the human condition like fighting against all odds for one’s beliefs.. Sometimes the stories we tell are not literary at all but told through math and science. These are all the more fascinating to me. In The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet, our hero finds himself in a completely new world unlike his own. As Cecilia and I create this second world of paper, I am hoping to channel the sprite of universes unknown. If we can even glimpse into that invisible place beyond comprehension that is usually seen through studying the stars, I will feel honored and electrified.