I wish I knew who to credit this to. This isn’t my image or quote. But it’s truth is far reaching.
I wish I knew who to credit this to. This isn’t my image or quote. But it’s truth is far reaching.
A lofty goal for any writer is finding and reaching your audience. As writers, we start out with a great idea, nurture it and grow it until it sprouts. Once it attains full growth we release into the world much like the seeds of a dandylion. Some stories reach across cultural boundaries and some fall short.
A good example of stories reaching beyond cultural boundaries are the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When JRR Tolken sat down and penned those stories, he was writing for a British audience. Over the past 75 years or so, those stories have been adopted by audiences worldwide. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies have also crossed those barriers and gathered a worldwide audience.
An over night explosion was the Harry Potter series, regardless of where you stand with it’s author. Children and adults the world over were sucked into those books. Book stores couldn’t keep them in stock when they were first released. Midnight openings with thousands of eager readers flocked to bookstores to get their shiny new copy of the latest book. I came much later to the series, and I have read them all. My personal favorite is Book 3, but that is a tale for anthor post.
An example of a story that should have crossed barriers was the Keanu Reeves film, 47 Ronin. On the surface this movie had everything and then some so why did it fail? Because the western audience it was intended for didn’t understand the Japanese culture it came from. I was one of those folks. I was wholly into the movie until the ending, and it killed the whole movie for me.
The Associated Press did an interview with the director before the movie was released and he expected the movie to do great things.
Rinsch said he took on the film subject and sat down with Keanu Reeves about two years ago. They wondered how they were going to take on a popular Japanese tale and do it justice. Rinsch said they decided to make the story their own, making “it a Hollywood blockbuster and see it through that lens.”
“These themes of revenge, loyalty, perseverance, were things we knew from the very beginning were universal,” said Rinsch. – Yuriko Nagano, Associated Press, Nov. 18, 2013
While the themes are universal, the presentation was very much Japanese. And it takes an understanding of that culture and it’s history for the ending to make sense. My husband, who is very much into anime, Japanese culture and grew up watching the samurai movies of the ’80s, wound explaining the way of honor and why it had to end the way it did.
As I was researching for this post, I found this is actually loosely based on historical events. I read some of the Wikipedia article and I may do a deeper dive just to satisfy my curiosity.
If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that Tolkien is my gold standard for writing. This poem, riddle from the Lord of the Rings has my favorite line of all time.
“Not all who wander are lost” I feel this describes my life and my writing life. Although I get lost on both plenty. I love the journey. Take time to really see and enjoy your own journey of life. Cheers, james
“It was a dark and stormy night…”
“Haven’t we heard this story before?” Richie asked.
“Dad, come on that is so cliche.” Connor made a face.
“Mom! Dad is trying to be a weatherman again.” Duncan yelled.
“Listen to your father boys. He is trying out a new story idea.”
“Where was I?” Dad clears his throat. “It was a dark and stormy night. Conan threw the tent flap open and…”
“Wait. Are we talking the Conan? Like The Cimmerian Conan? Or TV dude Conan?” Connor asked.
“What? Yes the real Conan. Why would TV guy be in one of my stories?”
“I think you should Dad. Conan vs Conan.” Duncan giggled.
“Honey, where did we put the boys? These are heathens. And critics. No respect at all for the arts.”
“Oh dear. Did we not get the right ones? I told you we should have picked the other three.”
“Mom!” Connor, Duncan and Richie chorused. “We are your sons.”
Dad clapped his hands. “Back to the story. Conan stepped out of the weather. His advisor handed him a towel…”
“Remember to keep the naughty bits out. Your audience is still in the PG category.” Mom called out. “Just in case you forgot who was listening.”
“Aww Mom. Those are the best parts. Don’t listen to her Dad. Fellows gotta stick together.”
“Boys this is a learning moment. Moms are always right,” he leaned close and whispered “until they’re not.”
“I heard that dear.”
“This is an ill omen for the battle tomorrow. Slogging through mud gets men killed”. His advisor said.
“Perhaps. Perhaps not. Bad weather drives man and beast inside. Guards are down. Bad weather is the thief’s friend.” Conan muttered to himself thinking.
“What are you thinking old friend?”
“A small force sneaking into the camp and causing chaos. Perhaps if they’re lucky they’ll get the one in charge. Men won’t go into battle without a leader.”
“Who will you pick? We can’t afford to lose you. So you must pick someone to lead this merry band of lunatics.”
“Hurry up Dad. Get to the good parts.” The boys chorused.
“Dear you had best pick up the pace. Your audience is getting restless.” She peaked into the bedroom. She hid a smile, the boys were scattered around the bed surrounding him. Even the dog was listening intently.
“Fine. Fine. Screaming trailed through Conan’s camp. “What is all this ruckus?” Conan roared. The camp fell silent. The wet bedraggled woman landed at his feet. His men were bleeding and panting with the effort. She growled at him. He looked at her.
“Who is this? Looking at her curiously, he noted the bruises and cuts on his men. The woman didn’t look to have been misused or abused. Her clothes were muddied and soaked, but she was otherwise unharmed. He frowned at her. Had one woman gotten the better of his men?
“Who is she Dad?”
“What happened to taking out the bad guys’ leader?”
“How come she beat up the good guys?”
“All in good time boys, all in good time. It takes time to build a story. And not everything is as it seems.”
“Mom! Dad is talking in cliches again. Make him stop and just tell us who she is.” The boys pouted.
“Now, now my loves. Sometimes storytellers have to take a moment and regroup. Is that right dear?” She stepped into the room and lightly massaged his shoulders. A quick peck on top of his head and she left the room.
He watched her leave. Clearing his thoughts he said let’s get back in the story.
I love this quote and image. Books are truly magical items that lets a reader step into another life, another time or place. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
I love this quote from Mr. Day. He personalizes the writing audience to suit ourselves. By doing so we are telling our truth, our story and the world needs those stories. The world needs to feel these truths and so dear writer do we.
“Hi you’ve reached Chantrelle Casey. I am loving life and can’t take your call. Just text me and I’ll text you later. Bye.“
“Shanti please pick up. I have texted, called and nobody has heard from you. I am seriously worried about you. Call me. ASAP. I mean it”
“I don’t understand that girl. She is spoiled and you have to work so hard.”
“Mom, Shanti is good people. So what if her folks are loaded. She is basically alone and doesn’t have anyone. Her parents are never home and when they are, it is always a fight. She doesn’t have a wonderful loving mom like I do and that is priceless. Pretty sure she would rather be in our family than hers.”
Her mother snorted, “If you say so. Besides who names their child after a mushroom?”
“It was a phase her dad went through. He wanted to grow truffles and stuff. So he named her and her mom was ok with it being french sounding. I don’t know. They both were probably drunk or high.”
The voicemail message finished playing. “Who is that? She sounds so concerned for you. A spoiled little rich girl shouldn’t have friends that really care. They should be fake, only concerned with what you can give them. Isn’t that right my dear?”
Shanti froze against the gag. She flinched when he came towards her. Eyes closed she couldn’t bear seeing his face. The mask was grotesque, at least she thought it was a mask. The pressure against her mouth dropped as he pulled the gag out. Her mouth was so dry, if only she could ask for some water. Her voice croaked and came out whisper soft.
“She’s a nobody. Some chick that went to the same school as me. I used her to do my homework and stuff.” She tried to keep the tremble out of her voice.
“Maybe I should go meet this nobody that is so concerned.” The mask distorted his voice. He watched her.
“Can I go home? Will you trade me for her?” Hope glimmered in her eyes. “I know where she lives. Her mom lives there too. Please let me go.”
He cinched the gag tight. She whimpered. “I have enjoyed our time together. I will have to think about it.”
Well I guess my writing block has been me all along. I picked this blog back up on July 4th and I have written more this last week than I have in two years.
Maybe I just needed a schedule and a deadline to be accountable too. So far I have written three posts, four if you count this one, and two story ideas/writing practice. Plus uploading the Quote of the day images. I try to get my posts written in the first week and then schedule them to be posted all during the month. And that may have been one of the problems. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I guess I needed the break to get my head straight. And by then I was out of practice and it seemed so hard to write a post or story idea or poem or anything. That I kept avoiding it. So yeah, it feels good having creative juices flowing again. Hopefully it will lead somewhere productive.
What are you writing or reading or doing? Drop me a line and let know what you think. Cheers, james