What people care about finding out inside others

I was working on a play a long time ago–directing it–and one of my actors was really struggling to connect to the inner truth of the lines she had to say. She was playing a queen, and every time she started to say her lines, it was like her heart turned into this rampaging horse darting about and bucking wildly. She started to feel so many things personally that she could hardly remember what the words were that she needed to say in the play.

It was like there was a disconnect, as if the actor went through her everyday life without feeling her own depth of emotion and then, once she was on stage and needing to access emotion on behalf of the character, she first ran into all the feelings she wasn’t processing in daily life.

What a tangle!

So then there was a delicate balance, for me as the director, between honoring this actor’s need–her real need–to experience her own emotions and develop a healthier connection to her authentic self, and the overall need of the show and all the other actors, where she needed to leave herself behind and turn into someone else.

And I think this is the great struggle of relationships of any kind, and connecting out towards other people, that you often have a barrier inside yourself–created of emotions you have, for whatever reason, not consciously felt–that you have to find a way through before you can bridge out to make an authentic meeting of selves with another person.

The other person has the same issue

Have you ever known people who–or a couple, I suppose–who get into a seemingly life-long dance of their outer barriers rubbing up against each other, their unresolved personal feelings becoming the only connection between them? And meanwhile, the truth inside each of those two people is that they are exquisitely, seemingly permanently alone?

When you avoid yourself and try to bury your loneliness in others, you end up creating a kind of reverse-magnet push, where no matter how apparently close you get to another being, your deepest self is even more alone.

Because of the rift between you and what you really feel

The solution, of course, is for one or the other of the parties involved (and ideally, both) to consciously navigate their own thorny barriers and the emotional moat and barricaded wall of the other in order to make a tenuous thread of genuine connection and emotional sharing, a kind of yarn, like in that telephone game where you make a rudimentary phone out of string and two empty plastic cups?

One or the other of you makes that thread, and then the preservation of the relationship relies on the protection and honoring of that little string, which, over time and with great effort, can become a giant, sturdy rope, or even, ideally, a kind of living artery connecting one soul to the other.

So what do people want from inside each other, Victor Poole?

People want the cessation of isolation and metaphysical abandonment, in the sense of feeling–no matter who else is there or what is going on–completely alone. People want company. And they want reliable, trustworthy company, too.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, something really sad just happened (connected to childbirth), and the prince is vacillating between tears and numb resignation.


The Problem of Subjectivity in Fiction

Caleb kindle 20194

I’m doing branding upgrades on my covers, and this is the new version of Caleb. I love the darker blue tones in the water, and the shading I’ve put in around the blood.


Also, just for fun, here’s a rough sketch of a painting I’m putting together of the rising island in the novel. The red color is the lake-ocean of blood Caleb gets into, and the shapes inside the red are the sharks and the large whale he meets and interacts with in there.

sketch 121b

You can see the island is just an outline right now, but I want there to be streams of the blood water running down the sides, and splashing into the lake-ocean below.

And Now, About Subjectivity!

I was reading about marketing techniques, and there was something in the material about how your branding needs to be based around irreproachably objective strata, so that even people who hate what you make have to acknowledge that the branding is accurate, and that drew me into thinking about fiction, and what makes stories work, in the sense of building a connection between the reader and the author, or storyteller.

I Spoke To A Choreographer–

–a long time ago, and he didn’t like being categorized as a choreographer or a dancer, since he was both. He also taught dance classes, and so felt kind of twisted up between all the pertinent labels for what he was. He told me that he classed himself as “a creator” and avoided leaving out parts of his personality and work that way.

I feel like it’s pretentious to avoid distinct, informative barriers that way. I mean, language is for sharing information, and “creator” just makes it sound like a person is making intimations that they’re some manner of irreproachable and morally superior demi-god. I don’t like that.

Back to Subjectivity, Victor Poole!

The reason I was talking to the choreographer was, I think, because I was writing a paper about so-called ‘influential local art figures,’ and he was one by popular opinion. I found him cloying and distant. He avoided getting drawn into personal exchanges with–well, plain individuals, or people who hadn’t learned how to cast a glamor of extra-societal importance around themselves.

I felt he was a contradictory snob.

You Said You’d Talk About Subjectivity, Poole!

Right, right. So I was reading this branding material, and it was saying that you have to choose branding that’s factual and compelling, and that caused me to think about fiction, and how, I feel like a lot of the time, fiction ends up being one person’s subjective spin-doctor job on a series of difficult-to-see events.

I mean, a lot of the time, I feel that authors (myself included in the past, in fumbling, not-published efforts) write down their subjective take on a plot while hiding the events of the actual story.

Murkish Opinion Instead of Direct Hearsay

Often a massive problem is that authors say what they want the reader to feel, and how they need the reader to react, without having the grace and wisdom to write down, as clearly and frankly as possible, what happens in the story and allowing the reader to absorb the events and draw their own perfectly valid subjective opinions on said events.

Those are my thoughts, that fiction, much of the time, becomes a subjective whirlpool that fails on a fundamental level as effective storytelling because the plot is not conveyed directly to the reader, but is muffled over and distilled into the writer’s personal and subjective opinion of the doings of the characters instead of being a clear and free story.

Of course, that brings up the idea that if a writer can encapsulate one character’s subjective opinion of the doings of the plot while making sure the plot is clear, then the book becomes a meta-story, giving us both the plot and a character’s take on the events. Delicious.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the prince is struggling with a lot of messy family issues (his relatives do not treat him with respect).