Organic Storytelling?

Interviews between two movie directors are the best. It gets higher and it’s more interesting and complex, of course : pros are talking.

There’s an interview of Jeff Nichols (Shelter, Mud) by Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Age of Innocence), where they explain that they are both criticized because their movies “lack of intrigue”. In a way, like in the movies of the 70s, a more mature era…

It’s true that most movies are strongly driven by a scenario. Everything is well explained and you feel you hand held by the makers, who WANT you to think this and that, adding music where you have to cry, etc…

Nichols and Scorsese both use the same language : the narrative energy must be there of course, but it’s obtained by asking questions and answering them along the scenes, by the editing, the light, events, and their order. The movie moves forward without constantly telling you IT-IS-A-STORY. Nope : there are characters, and events (like in real life, right?) and hidden structures – of course.

The audience doesn’t “feel the author”. Their intelligence is active, and it can blossom in many ways. It gives a rhythm, a more organic one, a more unique way of unfolding the movie.

 

In French, we call Organic Farming : “L’agriculture Bio” – from biological.

The word “Organic” is interesting. It means :

  1. Without chemical (for food)
  2. Living organisms
  3. Unified (an organic whole)
  4. Flowing, natural (an organic development)

 

 

Therefore it’s a structure I love. We could call “Organic Storytelling”, in a movie, in an article, a book, a novel, a way of making things grow and evolve without the chemical (but effective, too) processes of tricks and pushes and manipulation.

 

There’s a good example in sex and pleasure : every evolved adult knows that if you can bring and orgasm to your partner (man or woman) in many ways, you can separate these two paths :

  1. In the appropriate moment, stimulations and proper movements brings your lover a good orgasm. It’s as if you were pulling a bucket of pleasure with a string, from the top of the well…
  2. And there’s this other way, where you partner gets so aroused that he/she becomes a sphere of electricity : anything can bring her/him to explosion. It’s as if the bucket of pleasure were levitating up in the well, delicately guided by you and your string, from the top of the well…

What’s the best?

 

 

Intention of effect kills effect, says the wise man, and I agree with the wise man.

With this “organic building” structure, what would be photography, painting, poetry, blogging, teaching? Do your audience really need to know what you want them to feel? Is it a good question? Hmmm need a conversation, I know…

Vocabulary as seeds : what is control here? What are propositions?

 

Thanks for reading!

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The Insisting Many Angles Exploration Tool

Imagine you want to explore a part of history. The US Civil War, for instance.

First you have to find your “entry level”. Political? Military? Daily life in the country? Chronology? What happened before? Slavery?

Then what do you read? Documents from the era? Historians? Biographies? Novels happening at this time? Hmmm…

What is the size of your magnifier? Do you watch structures and big pictures, or do you focus on one day in the war?

 

I discovered that my best way to explore a field is to gather a few books and to focus on one little element.

It can be a sole day in the war, or one battle only, or one person of the time. But it can be one “element”, for example : railroads during the Civil War, or the way this war has been represented in movies along the century.

Then : insisting. Many angles. Many sources. Etc. And little by little you’ll find… a fabric, a texture, something…

Then you’ll know if you have to go on, and which way. Another “zoom” or a big synthesis, whatever.

Have fun. Thanks for reading!

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“Consider other doors, gallivanter!”

 

 

Books! Awards! Jump!

Goncourt, Renaudot, Fémina : it’s the literary prizes week in France. Books! Awards!

As soon as the names come up, herds of obedient consumers rush to buy the books – which are sold out, of course.

I wonder why. Do people want the book because they don’t know how to choose a story by themselves? Do they just pavlovically trigger-happy-obey to primary medias impulse? Is it something like mimetic desire (Google it, but it’s the way a kid want “this” red toy-car just because someone wants it)?

I don’t know, but I have a solution.

If you consider that getting awarded means it’s a good book, just move a little back, to last year, or ten years ago, whatever. What if the Pulitzer of 2014 STAYED good?

You’ll find plenty more good infos on the web about each book. You’ll find a pocket book version. You’ll find it cheaper on Craiglist, and you’ll disobey a little to cattle movements. Little pleasure.

Have a nice day with a book!

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“One or Six but not Two” (the buying bookseller dilemmas)

Booksellers or often books buyers. They are visited by editing companies sales representatives, who present them books they’ll sell a few months in advance.

For example, these weeks of September I order Christmas books…

This is something you can teach (there are a few “principles”), but mostly, you need a few years of experience to be a good buyer.

Flaws are obvious : you can order too many books, or too few. You can have a crush for a book which dismally fail, or you can hate a… future hit.

When you order books, you logically have to think about… where you’ll put the books when they are delivered later.

You order none if the book is impossible, or too complex for your customers, or… if you really disagree with the subject – which is rare, because most booksellers have this phrase in mind (often told as a Voltaire quote but it is not) :

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

  1. You order one if you need one on his shelf : you have to have it, but you don’t need to “show” it on a display (specialized books, unknown poets…) or you don’t have the room.
  2. You can show books on long lecturns (then you order 4 or 5 – one on the shelf (you HAVE TO), the others in sight), or on tables (then it’s a stack : 6 or 8), or on front displays for big authors or probable success books : 10, 20 or more.

 

Booksellers have private jokes. One is “You never order two!”. Why? Because it would be one on the shelf and an orphan volume you effing don’t know what to do with.

In fact, you sometimes do it (when you have to put it aside for you or a customer, when you’re pretty sure you’ll sell one quickly, etc)…

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25…

Never 7 or 11 or 13, or 17 books ordered. Why? Who knows?

I endeavor to once order 7 books during each appointment I have with a salesman. It’s a lucky charm, and it makes people smile. “Seven are you suuure?”. Yep!!

My instinct knows when to do it : in front of an improbable lovely book, the oblique one, the unexpected one. This job is very cool, you know?

One or Six, not Two, nor Seven. Could be a rhyme, right? In which other territories do we have “holes” like these. Numbers, but “you’re not supposed to use this one”. 13th stairs? What else?

Thanks for reading!

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(Picasso : Boy with a Pipe)

 

 

Picasso’s whirlwind

What is your exploration field, today? Japanese cinema, French classical music, British painters of 19th Century, US Civil War?

Picasso for me. There are constant exhibitions around the world, but there’s a big one in the Musée d’Orsay this fall in Paris. As a bookseller, I got the usual shower of new books. I opened one, and the summary stung me.

Mahler, Proust, Marx, I chose these three examples for this article : Jungle Syndrome. Something, in these, is “too much”. Too complex, too rich, too interesting, too big. You pick a leaf, then you have a tree, a forest, a universe. Gasp !

I also realized I had to find my own path : Feeling the air of Waterloo & other oblique explorations…

One explorer’s pleasure – when you want to explore a subject like this – is to gather weapons : documentaries, downloaded images or pdf, books. I ordered some, bought second handed others…

I’m reading the “first little guides”, one of Picasso’s wives biography, and many prefaces and introductions.

I ordered a huge biography, bought a second hand two volumes chronological illustrated book, found other things in my own shelves…

I already feel the fire, “this” fire you all know…

“Towering genius of the century”, “long and prolific career”, what I already know is this : nobody can explain or frame Picasso’s work. Every author talks about paradoxes or multifacets (like for every important artist or writer). Variety and never ending exploration, but with strong themes and structures under. Modern, but based on classics. Childish, but with strong work and maturity. Free, daring and casual, all driven by terrific invention. Revolutionary on many stairs.

So, yes, it’s whirlwindy, immense, impossible to cover. One of the good things is that Pablo Picasso talks and explains a lot about his work, about what he wants

This will be a lovely autumn, right?

Thanks for reading!

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“I’ll put this one on my SOB (Stack of Books)”

Librarians, booksellers, booklovers : we all know the SOB, the Stack of Books (to read).

In French we call it the PAL (la pile à lire).

You know this, right? You just bought a book, or you’re just being stung by a subject (thus you picked up some books in your shelves).

  • It can be a couple of books, but it can be two dozens, or a whole shelf, yeeeesh.
  • It can be a real stack, or a stack… in your mind.
  • You can read them in order, or begin all of them all – so there!
  • While you attack your stack, you’ll probably add more books on it.

Yes, it’s sisyphian.

It leads me to this (if it’s a pattern) : Don’t we all have other “stacks”? Things to do? Things to think about (when I have a little time alone)? Things to talk about when I’m with this person? Clothes (to iron, obviously)? Methods? Recipes? How do we choose into a stack ?

Isn’t a stack a list made real?…

Here’s my current one. I invite you to post yours in the comments 🙂

Have a nice day!

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The reader who doesn’t read

I know plenty of book lovers, but this Type is rare…

The reader who doesn’t read.

There’s this man I see in the bookstore twice a week or more. He subscribed to many weekly magazines and wants to buy every book with good reviews. Let’s say : between 5 and 10 books a week.

Little by little, by what he was saying, I figured it out : this guy hasn’t got the time, didn’t take the time to read any of them. None. It is like a compulsive need to get everything’s “good” for critics.

I have a friend who lived for a few years with a man who was the same : he kept buying books and CDs, but she told me he doesn’t love to read, he never reads, he just pile dozens and dozens of them.

So one could wonder. Let’s try :

  1. Compulsive buying disorder.
  2. A fear to miss something.
  3. A way to say “I’ll read these later, when I’m retired”.
  4. Imposture (“I want to look like an intellectual”).
  5. A vicarious will to look like someone he knows.
  6. A way to hide a big “something is missing in my life”.

 

In a way, in each case, I find so much sadness. Like a big rush, a big energy to do something, but unable to really plug it to reality, to brain. Big appetite, but no acumen…

This Type uses a pattern. What would be this pattern in other areas? Fakery, impostureness? What shades do we find, between doing this just on surface, like a cheater, a fake, or doing it with a good will, deeper, a bit like “being lost, in fact, in the emptiness”. Compulsive liars, wrong artistic projects…

A reader who never reads, awwwee poor man!

 

Thanks for… reading!

 

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