Story is Without Medium

I think I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to tell a story in words. I’m not sure it’s been an entirely successful venture, but I keep trying.

It’s kind of funny, too. I love reading books. There’s a thrill in letting the words play in your mind to create a picture, a movie of the book.

But I’ve realized as I’ve read more and more manga (Japanese graphic novels) over the past couple of years that I enjoy the effect of words and pictures together. I still enjoy exercising my imagination with a textual book, but I’m just as likely to reach for a manga as a novel. My feed aggregator is slowly filling with more and more webcomics for this same reason. And I reach for the manga, the webcomics, and the novels that are able to fully utilize their media to draw me in to a sustained story.
As a child, I studied ballet. I can remember rehearsals as a young adult where the artistic director and the choreographer continually nagged us to tell the story. The story of the ballet, the story of the individual dance we were doing. If our movements weren’t contributing to building the story, then we weren’t doing it correctly. And this applied to dances that weren’t part of a story ballet, too. Our recital pieces were mini-stories, danced by each class.

This comes back to me every time I watch figure skating competitions. I’ve noticed the more successful skaters find the story in their music and bring it out in their choreography. Amazingly, these tend to be the skaters who turn professional and take over my weekend afternoons as their exhibitions are run over and over again on the television.

Even my favorite musicians are the ones who can consistently provide a story in their work. In their lyrics. In the music if there are no lyrics. I love the story. My favorite band at the moment is my favorite band, simply because their lyricist is a fantastic storyteller.

Thinking about it, I’ve come to realize that the medium has little to do with a good story. The story is the story on its own merit, and the medium is the vehicle delivering the story. I don’t know if that will help me at all, but someone else might find it interesting.


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