I remember the movies, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I remember the television series, My Mother, the Car. And of course there’s the TARDIS from the long-running British show, Dr. Who. Objects have been used as characters in these stories to great effect, often having their overlapping status create a built-in twist of some sort or another, difficult or impossible to pull off with mortal humans.
There are at least two things to think of here: one is the bridge between species of a sort (I guess we can include, Mr. Ed then) and two, there are the characteristics, the details that are necessary to bring the inanimate to life and other animals to human language and cognition.
Always, there are disagreements about how much detail is too much or not enough, but to bring a level of interaction bridging the divide takes a bit more detail, rather than less.
Lord of the Rings, an all-time favorite of mine, bestows many objects with special significance, each in their own way, whether it be its history of a sword’s deeds or the evil that the Ring speaks to its wearer.
Thinking about this today, I realize there are some objects we could take into the world of interaction and special detail in the second book of our series. Book One is nearly complete… in ‘final’ revisions, and we’re researching the best self-publisher for our needs as well as the launch date. Then we can more thoroughly attend to the threads we will want to pull through into the next book of the series. It’s an exciting time, and we’ll see what will happen.
If you should happen to have experiences with writing objects as sentient beings OR a great experience self-publishing and want to share, that would be lovely. Please leave a comment below.
Correspondence is one of my favorite forms of writing. It’s inspiring. It bleeds over into the way I ‘hear myself writing’ when I get into fiction.
I recently corresponded with a friend, in which she described the delight of a day of horseback riding. It prompted my own inner storyteller, and the following tree planting theme emerged. It’s a memory I cherished but hadn’t thought about in many years.
Me: When I first moved to Washington State from New Jersey, I stayed for a month on a hundred acre piece of land on Mount Hull in the Okanogan. I did many things while I was there, including apple-thinning and picking on vast irrigated farms. One thing I did and loved, when I was young and my back could take it, was planting MANY trees there, after a federal incentive so people could take employment in the wilderness area which had a mostly barter economy at that time. It was done because many mature trees had been clear-cut some time before (such a sad thing to see and walk in). If one was to encounter a clear cut wound in the wild, the best way to approach it would be with a baby tree in one’s hand. It made me think of Johnny Appleseed, though I don’t know much about how far west he got in his travels.
(I’ve since found out the following – courtesy of Wikipedia: “John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present-day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.” Interesting. Not all the way to Washington State, but apples are the crossover.)
… and after my friend’s response, my reply:
Me: I love your letter. Thanks for what you said about the trees. It’s a sweet reminder of one time of beauty and service… and I like the opportunity to remember it. Looking back again, I realize that it was only one time in my life when I did such a thing. When I lived in Cumberland on a few acres, we planted over 100 trees, and I used to dream about them at night. I’d be coming back over a hundred years later to visit them, amazed at how tall the cedar and redwoods had grown, how colorful the sugar maple was in fall, how graceful the cypress, how grand the weeping willow up high over the river. It was hard work, but at the end of the day, all that was left was happiness.
Everything and anything exists in each single moment. It depends upon what questions we ask of it where it will lead us: in a circle, across a desert, into a candy store. Variations are endless: one part of the fun that takes any prompt and turns it into a story or other work of art.
If I see an old barn set back from the road, questions immediately spring to mind:
-Who might have lived there… and when did they leave?
-Why did they leave?
-What was the size of the original farm on which that barn sat at an angle to the road?
-How did transportation of the times affect choices they made?
-What was the size of their family through the time they lived there?
I don’t even have to see the barn in person. A picture or painting might elicit responses to other times where I can smell barn particles on the breeze.
Moments and snapshots and music trigger a plethora of questions and self-derived answers that can be shaped into a new story.
The artist contains the meeting place of voice, idea, theme… and then works to organize them fluently –this is one example of how tiny things contain the whole.
-The blueprint for life exists within every double helix strand of DNA in every cell in the body.
-There is enough energy within one single atom to set off a reaction that can either power homes or destroy them.
-This is one of my favorite themes to write about: the overall theme to life that within every tiny thing or perception is much more than we casually guess.