Posts Tagged History

WRITING CHRONICLE #36: cave walls and tapestries

Via: Daily Prompt – Fabric & Fact

I know I’m a couple of days late in submitting this post. My brain drew a complete blank this week when it came around to writing about… my writing experiences and learnings. This is probably due to not having written much over the last couple of weeks besides what you will find on this blog. There were few fresh experiences for me to draw from. As I waited for inspiration to hit me, I caught up on my Watchlist and, sure enough, my standard researching go-to pulled through.

stories

Image: Self

I saw The Breadwinner last night and, during Act I of the movie, the father kept insisting the protagonist retell the stories he had taught her. She was wary of the task and lacked confidence in her ability to remember the details or add spirit to her recitations that her father so naturally exhibited. I understood her anxiety; it is an anxiety we, all authors, become consumed by every once in a while. Will our stories be relevant, will they create an impact? Will we connect?

As the father continued to reiterate to the daughter that telling stories was their tradition and why it was important that she continue the tradition, I began to re-appreciate how selfless an act storytelling can be. Amidst the terror and oppression of the Taliban regime, it was the one tradition that they could uphold because it did not cost anything more than a conversation between two persons – however secret. It was the one way that the truth of a time before the Taliban reign could stay alive for future generations to look back on. As long as there were people telling the stories of their pasts, the Taliban couldn’t obliterate their identity. Storytelling was a risk they would just have to take.

But storytelling isn’t just the tradition of the people of Afghanistan; it is the one tradition that all of mankind has had in common since languages were invented. In Genius, Colin Firth’s enactment of the legendary book editor Max Perkins describes to the self-absorbed Tom Wolfe (Jude Law) in the movie how ancient a form of communication storytelling is. That when the cavemen sat around the campfire at night with nothing to do but worry about all the dangers lurking in the dark, they told each other stories. Stories kept the dread of the dark at bay while campfires became more than sanctuaries, they became a symbol of communion.

Today, we discover scratch marks on cave walls and marvel at the presence of mind and resourcefulness of our ancestors to have preserved the evidence of their existence at a time when they didn’t have the comfort of the knowledge that archeologists would one day unearth their fossils and fittings even without the tips they thought to leave behind. But archeological findings only tell us what we may surmise ourselves; while cave arts communicate the rendition of the stories the Neanderthal themselves wanted to share with us. How much more personal the communication then becomes, how much more generous the act?

In junior high, we didn’t study English, we had Language Art classes. Because that is the form storytelling eventually took. It became more than a means of preserving history. It became methods of imparting ethics and morals, life lessons and standards. It made learning pleasurable and it glued those learnings to our memories. Go online and you will discover a hundred reasons why storytelling is important in everything from early childhood development to cultural constructs to the field of marketing. From reiterating facts of our past to inventing fictions based on our present or somewhere in between, storytelling can take on many forms and shapes from using words and symbols to threads and paints.

But, returning back to the lesson the father was trying to impart to our protagonist in The Breadwinner, the one thing we, authors, must remember is that storytelling is meant for more than our self-gratification in the ability to tell a story well, to impress; the true reason for telling stories lies in the “why”. Realize why you must tell a story and the hesitation will resolve itself.

Why do you tell your stories?

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Jane Austen Vs. Charlotte Brontë

Via: Daily Prompt – Criticize

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Image: Wikimedia

I have a confession: I never read Jane Eyre cover-to-cover; I skimmed all the way through. You know, the type of reading where you graze your eyes over the long passages and just get to the dialogues and actions to get the drift? Your heart is not in it and you’re reading it only to add a notch on your bookshelves? It is the only book I have ever read completely, not because of my love for the words but because I had an agenda to finish it, where, even after finishing it, I could not like it. Why have I been so acrimonious towards Jane Eyre? Because of the author.

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Image: Wikimedia

I hate Charlotte Brontë – as a person (as an author, I am not in the liberty to comment because I didn’t read her novel properly). How can I hate a person who lived over one-and-quarter century prior to my birth? It wasn’t terribly difficult. In fact, it was quite instantaneous. Because of what she said about Jane Austen:

 

“Why do you like Jane Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point. … I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses. These observations will probably irritate you, but I shall run the risk.”

~ Charlotte Brontë to literary critique G.H. Lewis, 1848, in response to his comparison of Jane Eyre to Pride and Prejudice

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Women’s March and DJT

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Image: Wikimedia

 

Via: Daily Prompt – Oversight

A few days late, I know, but the thought just occurred to me [or rather I was just prompted, heh heh].

 

Bear with my reaching wordplay here…

International Women’s Day is on the 8th of March every year. But I feel as though this year, IWD came a bit early when women everywhere – as in on a global scale – were compelled to march out and storm up a hefty protest in solidarity of sisterhood in January. And all because a certain somebody couldn’t keep his greedy paws off of the grandest chair in the USA. An oversight on his part, if I ever witnessed one. But then, just add it to the basket full of other examples of his thoughtlessness.

A veritable powwow.

Yet, I feel like we need to thank DJT for forcing this supposed inconvenience upon our annual schedule. While we ladies really do like to get together and take a moment every year on IWD to pat each other on the back for the long we have come from the days when our ancestors fought for their suffrage, rarely have issues activated female solidarity in such ranks. A couple of my favorite such scenarios are as follows:

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Image: Mark Dixon, Flickr

Women’s March on Versailles of 1789

 

On the morning of October 05, 1789, Women took to the marketplace of Paris to protest high prices of food and scarcity of bread. It was one of the earliest and more notable uprisings in the French Revolution. In fact, it led to the famous storming of the Palace of Versailles that toppled King Louis XVI.

Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913

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Image: Adam Cuerden, Wikimedia

Officially dubbed Woman Suffrage Procession, the parade on March 03, 1913 drew thousands of suffragists to Washington D.C. on the morning prior President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in protest of women’s exclusion in the U.S. political system. While pre-event sentiments were largely hostile, an outbreak of assaults upon the participants at the procession produced quite the opposite effects with a nation left in disgrace, adding fuel to the fire in support of the movement. In fact, apart from keeping African American women segregated to follow in the line, the event scored a grand victory for women’s liberation.

So…

It appears that when we women get together, things really do get moved along in the right direction. I say we stick to the streets then.

 

I hope this post motivates. I would love some feedback. Better yet, why don’t you drop me a line in the comment section on any particular women’s movement that really inspires you.

 

 

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