Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Storytelling

My father still dreams in french. A friend once told me he perceives the world in music. Every once in a while, I catch myself thinking in film, divvying the world into camera angles, clips of dialogue, melding the music in my ears into a soundtrack, rather than simply processing the stream of images before my eyes.


If I weren't becoming a psychologist, I think I would become a documentary filmmaker. There is something romantic about not only seeking to absorb oneself in every drop of knowledge about a topic and being willing to gallivant about the earth to discover it, but also the act of wanting to expose the topic to the entire world. Perhaps it is the noble ideal about the pursuit of knowledge that leads me to be driven in my own research- but the research we do as academics seems less pure somehow, tainted by egotistical motivations, departmental politics, and ridiculous truisms like "publish or perish". We speak not of findings, but of extra lines on our CV. We don't seek to present our knowledge to the world at large, rather preserving its exclusivity in our now cliched ivory towers. There seems something more authentic about storytelling.

For some reason, a rather unremarkable image has become wedged in my head. Years ago, an old boss told me of going to see a documentary at a film festival. The director was there... but not many others. This struck me as so tragic, to imagine someone working so hard to expose the images that no one actually wants to see or to have told the story no one feels the need to hear. 

21 comments:

eric1313 said...

That is sad. We see it often enough--blogs unread, or at least, uncommented upon. People's inner stories that sometimes seem like they were ripped from moorings deep inside their soul.

And nothing but tumbleweeds and crickets to greet them...

But it's entirely noble, too. This is what we must face: the possibility that something so sacred and dear might be passed over by the rest of the world. That something that means life itself to us, might mean nothing to the rest.

Any art that is presented, there is risk.

Deep topic; short and sweet post to sum it up perfectly.

Keep telling your story, because hey, some people would sell their soul to have the audience that waits on pins and needles to read your words. We really do love the take you have on life.

Sweet dreams, friend. We'll read more of your story again soon.

Being Brazen said...

Loved this post.

I also sometimes think about the world as if i was looking through a lens, choosing my soundtrack, getting great great "camera angles"...

ToughGirl101 said...

Much like blogging, sometimes no one wants to come and find out what's going one. It's also like art, sometimes no one wants to see their masterpiece. It sucks, but it's the risk we all take.

Crushed said...

My mother used to still count in Swedish when I was little.

Now she claims she even thinks in English and can hardly remember a word of her native language.

I think I'd enjoy making documentary films.

I'd like to do one on Africa, I always think.

Crushed said...

My mother used to still count in Swedish when I was little.

Now she claims she even thinks in English and can hardly remember a word of her native language.

I think I'd enjoy making documentary films.

I'd like to do one on Africa, I always think.

Maxie said...

that is sad, but I guess if they're doing what they love the popularity only matters so much? Or at least that's what I'd like to think.

Yoda said...

And there is http://arxiv.org/

Free open access to publications. If you've got something to share with the world say it without your publication being walled off by "scientific publication presses".

Paula said...

I think you would be an excellent documentary film maker purely from how clearly you describe things in your posts. Perhaps one day you can use your psychology qualifications to even further advantage and produce a documentary yourself! :)

Ant said...

But then, a lot of stuff in this world (and I'd argue that it is the majority) doesn't get heard or recognised and paints a very tragic scene because of one very simple reason...

... it's PISH! :-)

So@24 said...

Damn. You got deep on us with this one.

Katelin said...

so sad. i think sometimes everyone needs a little push to find what all is out there.

tmamone said...

I often see the world as a movie, too. I sometimes even talk to myself to create a voice-over narration. But then when people look at me funny, I have to stop.

verybadcat said...

To some degree, it's mere existence has to be worth the effort, because people don't get into the documentary genre for the popularity. I feel that way sometimes about writing it. Every once in awhile, I get my feelings hurt when I post I really cared about didn't get the reaction I'd hoped it would. In the end, though, simply writing it was pleasure enough.

verybadcat said...

I don't know where that misfit "it" came from, but it didn't belong in there. ;)

jenn said...

I think that eric's comparison of the documentary with blogging is apt. And I am in two minds:
1. I write for me, not for others.
2. I appreciate that people take the time to read it, and that it resonates sometimes.

So I do think it's a bit sad. But at the same time, just the making of the film may have been enough for the director...

captain corky said...

I agree with what everyone said, and at least the filmmaker made the flick and didn't spend his life up in his room dreaming and talking about wanting to do something.

chasinglibby said...

aw, i just had a heart pang. that's terrible =(

Z said...

oh, wow. great post, and now... i want to go see a documentary. for the director, who might be alone in the room.

Lauren said...

That is a sad image. It's like a writer who's book only sold to one person. A musician who's songs were never heard.

I would have gone to the documentary.

Also, I love your first paragraph.

Psychgrad said...

Hey - I do that too...Think in terms of how something would look on film. I don't know if it's just a symptom of watching too many reality tv shows. I also thought it was a fairly close second to psychology where you gather evidence to stream a story together. Not to mention the study of people.

Kayleigh said...

I sometimes dream in Italian, Spanish, and Lithuanian. Moreso in Italian. It's so weird to KNOW that you are speaking fluently in your dreams when in real life you stumble with putting together a perfect sentence. It's almost like when I'm asleep all my neurons come together and connect everything I've learned. It's so frustrating because I know that I know this stuff, but when I'm awake it doesn't come as easily.

Sorry for that tirade.

As for the imagining you're filming while you live your everyday life- I do this too. I tend to do it moreso with photography though. I will stop and stare at something that others walk right past, and think about how beautiful it is. Two seconds later I kick myself for not having my camera with me.

You are a brilliant writer. I love reading your posts.