. . . Daddy!” “Read me a bedtime story, Mommy!” “Please? . . . ”
We’ve all been there. Some of us, in both places, as listener – and reader.
As a child. As the parent.
And the art of “storytelling’s” as olde as bipeds have trod the earth.
From before Homer and Sîn-lēqi-unninni to long after them – Dickens, and Winderl, C., and Winderl, Z. – unto Infinity and Beyond . . .
Thus, “Narrative’s” the focus of Part Two here.
Narrare, the Romans named it: to tell. Storyteller, in English; relator in Latin.
So the storyteller/relator presents the plot, moves it forward through episodes, events, and scenes. And the reader’s then carried forward – engaged & involved – by the flow of the story being told.
In Great Expectations Dickens tells his tale of Pip through captivating events in his life; like in this hair-raising scene when Pip wanders into a cemetery where he first encounters the escaped prisoner Magwitch:
A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered, and glared, and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head, as he seized me by the chin. [p. 2]
Wincerl, C., moves the reader into and through his Marian poem, “Kneeling at the Manger,” when Mary the Mother of Jesus tells this about the 3 shepherds’ arrival:
staffs at their sides, hushed
mouths agape, reeking not
of frankincense and myrrh, but
of linseed oil, sulfur, pitch, and
tar, these rough men
by My Son’s birth, shocked in
amazed gazing, at Him. [ll. 1-8]
And Winderl, Z., captivates the readers with this telling narrative in Atom & Go: Trinity, when Atom must advance from stasis to dynamism:
The man lay dying, not by Atom’s hand, but instead ravaged by a disease carving his lungs with more pain and precision than the gunslinger had ever inflicted on a living soul. Far beyond the help of doctors or medocs, the man dozed in a comfortable, drug-addled haze.
Thus, the sequence of episodes, events, and scenes combine in a linear pattern: where geography (space) or chronology (time) catch, engage, and hold the reader/listener to ultimately plead, “what happens next, Daddy?” “what do they do next, Mommy?”
And so it goes, as Vonnegut might exclaim; but not all storytelling is just narrative: the 3 other tools must be employed, and in Part Three, “Action” will be the first tool added to “Narrative.”
Tune in next week for that addition, and how it’s added to the storylines in Great Expectations, “kneeling at the Manger,” and Atom & Go: Trinity.
Til then, keep on keeping on, keep holding on, and ever keep flying the black!
Guest Post by C. Winderl