Sunday, February 21, 2010

From there to here, from here to there

1. You know what freaks me out? To log into my mail and find an old friend who is no longer alive, listed as available to chat on my sidebar. I'm guessing it's family using that old and supposedly defunct id, but WTF?! What could there be to check in that mailbox?

Something similar happened after a Facebook friend passed away recently. For the first few days there were quotes from poems, a lot of 'missing you' and 'thinking of you' notes which, though futile, were at least understandable. Less comprehensible were the flowers gifted and sheep thrown at and Farmville products peddled on his page. WTF?

We're entering a new age of joblessness.

2. Sustainable Aircraft must be read. Read everything, but especially read Michael Scharf and go through all of Linh Dinh's piece Street Reading.

3. Are you a poor Indian writer? Kuzhali Manickavel has some advice for you. If you leave praise you might get elected to be a unicornperson. (Alternatively, you could just leave her all your money.)

4. from the Archives of Things I Have Seen First-Hand: the ability some people have to extrapolate one or two casual, incomplete conversations into coherent world-views in their retelling of it. This is the way one random student collared on his way out somewhere becomes a Student, and his ill-considered remarks become representative of something else altogether. This, dear readers, is how opinion is formed. (This is also how we went through journalism class and something-something research while studying mass comm. Only, you don't expect grown-up professional folks to follow the same methodology).

5. About the storytelling session last night: the place was done up beautifully. More people came than we expected, what with the 'Seige' - as all the papers are calling it - still taking place elsewhere in the city and all.

Learnings include:

Never read first if you can read last. People are always coming in late and will either entirely miss your reading or you will be distracted with shifting seating arrangements, people waving to each other to indicate saved places, or the sound test will take place only during your reading.

Never assume that storytelling means story reading. Know your own story well enough to be able to tell it without the help of the book. If your story depends too much on how you've written it and the precise order of words or even the specific use of those exact words, it is a bad story to tell children who are easily distracted with the balloon-lamps and the candles and the bean bags lying around.

Don't use your own child as a benchmark. Everyone's vocabulary is unique and variable, as is their lived experience, and what works for one child or a group of at most three children will not necessarily work for a larger group.

Get a copy of Mooshak e Kaghazi and watch before future storytelling sessions for children.

Loud is not necessarily more communicative. Kids get subtlety - really, they do.

On the other hand, as a storyteller, you're competing with TV serials and video games, and whatever strategy you're using to replace volume, it'd better be a good one.

That's all, folks.


km said...

Woah. Those are some good links. Thanks. (Particularly enjoyed the poem "Corpses in Kashi" in Sustainable Aircraft.)

Falstaff said...

I loved the Linh Dinh, even though it made me all nostalgic for Philly.

By contrast, the Ghivarghese Kuzhikandam piece on Geoffrey Hill / William Cobbett is entirely unreadable. Who the hell writes sentences like:

"The construals of lyric doing that follow will not seem only extravagant, I hope, to those who are more acquainted ― and minutely, even ― with the contrary creature the political Cobbett was."


Space Bar said...

km: that first appeared in Almost Island, which I'm almost certain I liked to.

falsie: Yes, when I first saw the issue, I saved that Hill one first to read later but found it hard getting through. I will keep at it, tough; can't help feeling that beyond all the dense structure, there's something he's saying that I want to know.

Do you follow Linh Dinh's Detainees blog? It's pretty interesting also.

equivocal said...

A recent commentary piece by Linh Dinh: