Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Monday, September 8, 2014

Take Me to the River.

One of my favorite metaphors for life is the river. It’s meandering and it pulls up muck as it goes along. In Chapter 5 of The Artist’s Way, “Recovering a Sense of Possibility,” Cameron writes “the shift to spiritual dependency is a gradual one,” and for me it’s taken years. If there is one thing I really need to work on, it’s “letting go and letting God.” If we look at the metaphor of a river, we acquire the feeling of moving along in the current of life, of sometimes hitting the bank or getting stuck on a rock, of being pushed down into the depths and rising to the surface, of flowing along, in our meandering way, sifting through the debris and finding the gold. Our lives are transformed in this gradual way. We discover trust and the ability to recreate ourselves. When I searched my manuscript for 30 Perfect Days, I found that I'd used the river metaphor multiple times. I didn't know it was so part of me. Maybe that's why I've always said I'd love to live in the Cuyahoga Valley--the trees are the sentinels that watch over the freedom created by the river's tumbling and reverberating journey.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action: Why Writers Should Spend More Time at the Movies

Cinda Williams Chima, the next Word Lovers writer-in-residence, says that the average screenplay for a feature-length film is only 100-120 pages, while the average novel is much longer. The difference is the absence of narrative—those paragraphs where the novelist is ‘splaining, summarizing, describing, or telling the reader what to think and how to feel. Used sparingly and well, narrative is invisible. Too often, it’s the part that the reader skips over. Screenwriters deliver the entire story on stage, in scene, using character, action, story arc and structural techniques to keep the audience engaged. This approach puts the audience in the scene and trust them to “get” it. When it works, it’s the most accessible and effective way to tell a story. Makes sense, and I'm going to work on that at Lakeside, after a walk or two along the lakeshore.