Elizabeth: Musing on Story

Now that we’ve been “sheltering at home”  for almost two months now, things are starting to settle into something that may not be normal, but is a little more organized.  The first few weeks at home were a bit of a free-for-all: figuring out how to work remotely; being reassigned to help on critical projects; wondering about who was going to get sick and when; being unusually concerned about the status of the grocery store shelves.

Between trying to keep my normal work tasks on track during the days and my special project tasks on track nights and weekends, there wasn’t a lot of spare time for reading or creativity for the first month or so.  Things eventually settled down, as they generally do, and, with a bit of organization, time for non-work pursuits became available.

Sadly, my creative mind did not seem to become available at the same time.  Fortunately, I had many other things to do while the Girls in the Basement binged-watched the news and hogged all the hand-sanitizer.

First, it was mask making (convenient, since they’re now mandatory here).  Then, it was making a quilt out of the scraps of material left over after said mask making.  Jigsaw puzzling would have come next, but apparently everyone sheltering at home discovered the joys of jigsaw puzzles all at once, so there were no new puzzles to be had.  I tried an online puzzle, but it just wasn’t the same thing.

Lucky for me, the internet continues to brim with things to see and do, especially now that more people are home with cell phones and spare time.  From sing-a-longs to virtual museum tours to who knows what in between, if you look, you’ll find it.  I’ve been trying to focus on things that are story related, hoping to jump start some ideas of my own.

  • Friday I virtually attended Shelter in Poems, a “virtual reading of uplifting poems to bring us together.”  The event was sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and included an hour of poems read by poets laureate, actors, musicians, artists, and more.  It was a lovely hour, especially for poetry lovers.  Of which I am not one.  I try, really.  I love poetry–in theory.  I have an appreciation for the stories that can be told and images created with such a scarcity of words, but I often feel clueless, as I did Friday evening (I really needed to be sheltering with someone who could explain the poems to me).  But that’s okay.  The poems that speak to me are out there, I just need to keep reading.  I think I’ll try some Mary Oliver next or one of the many other poetry books on my reading pile.
  • Over the weekend my focus was on music-related story telling.  I found a number of amusing parody songs (political in nature, so I will not re-post them here), as well as a fun virus-related Mary Poppins themed song:  SuperBadTransmittableContagiousAwfulVirus (a Poppins Quarantine song).  I think songs are an especially creative type of story telling because not only to you have to get the story down, but the words have to fit together just right (and possibly rhyme).  The Poppins song was engaging and fun, plus I was impressed by both the singer and the fact that the whole thing appeared to have been recorded on a cell phone.
  • The last bit of story telling I enjoyed this week was a funny short film about a camera crane trying to reinvent itself during the pandemic.  The little film was made by North Carolina-based filmmaker Jeff Hartman of Rapid Motion Camera who posted the short film to his Facebook page and Instagram account where it received hundreds of likes and shares.  It’s adorable and a great example of both creativity and the power of story.

Armed with all of this story exposure, I’m feeling refreshed in both spirit and creativity.  I’m confident that the Girls and I will be working together very soon (especially since I think they’re almost out of hand sanitizer).

In the meantime, what story telling have you been enjoying lately?

3 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Musing on Story

  1. That was too adorable.

    I’ve been making good progress on reinventing my third book. After tossing the 60K I had completed, I’m back up to 12K (sigh) with a story I think is much more interesting (yay!).

    • Oh, my! It hurts to just read about tossing 60K words. I’m glad you have been able to revise your way to a more interesting story. I hope at least some of those words you cut can be repurposed some other way, so they’re not completely lost.

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