“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” ~ Mary Tyler Moore
“As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” ~ Joseph Campbell
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ~ Oscar Wilde
I’ve mentioned in previous posts my plans to offer a video series called “Loving Literature.” Today I want to tell you why I’m so jazzed about creating this series.
A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to tutor a young person who is having great difficulty with reading. I wasn’t hired, but the cosmic tumblers in my head all fell into place, and the idea for this video series was born. I’m not giving up writing. On the contrary, creating this video series has renewed my fervor and desire to improve my story telling techniques.
My love of story all began with my parents. I’m sure that is where lots of people learn to love reading. My mother shared books with me, which helped me learn to love reading, but it was my father who helped me learn to analyze a story.
As I was growing up, we didn’t have lots of money, so six people going to the theater to see a movie was a rare treat. However, showing recently released, or classic movies on television was a big event back before cable and satellite, and my family took advantage of them. In fact, I didn’t see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen until I was in college. Yet, every year we watched it as it was broadcast on television.
My father turned these movie events into educational sessions as well. He’d ask question after question about what we liked about the movie and the characters. As I recall, he and I would still be discussing the movie long after the others had gone to bed.
One weekend my dad came home unexpectedly with a new color TV after a trip to Sears for something else. That began a new ritual of Dad and I staying up late on the weekends watching and discussing movies together. By extension, and because of a great English teacher, I became deeply interested in the books and stories we studied in class. That’s why I became a theatre artist.
Fast forward to teaching high school drama and English. I realized that I had a unique skill in story analysis when my students became engaged in deep discussions about a story, play or book. It was that realization more than any other that convinced me to quit teaching and become a writer. I’ve been supremely happy these eight years, but teaching at the college sometimes gets in the way of what I really want to be doing. This series will be the perfect blend of teaching and being creative.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been putting the first three videos together and I get more excited every day as ideas for more videos come to me. To begin with, the videos will be about how to read a textbook, play or novel. Then I will have a series on the elements of literature: plot, character, conflict, setting, language, and how to use these to determine the author’s purpose for writing the story. Then I’ll move on to the different genres. Who knows where I’ll go from there. Eventually, I hope I’ll be discussing books, movies and plays I like.
Creating these videos will not take the place of my writing. I see it as an extension of it.
I’ll keep you posted about how it goes, and even invite you to take a look.
Thanks for reading. I hope you are recovering after election day.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016