Journeys and Quests

The subtitle for this blog is “A Writer’s Journey” so might as well elaborate on the status of that journey thus far. Admittedly, it hasn’t progressed as far as I would have expected, but then again, there were meandering diversions along the way, resulting in exploring paths otherwise hidden. Some have yielded brilliant concepts that have since been incorporated into the narrative arc that is (at least for the time being) the MASC(D) Chronicles, while others were filed away for (possible) future use (whether in the main series saga or another work in progress). Careful consideration of character relationships, narrative structure takes time and research to craft, along with the overall pacing of the plot (critical in the long run of a series).

It’s a complex process.

The journey can be a quest, and the quest can be a journey – to (self) discovery or to vanquish the enemy or righting a wrong (perceived or otherwise). Multiple quests / journeys can occur, with the characters’ separate narrative arcs collaborating or conflicting with one another (i.e. the objectives of the protagonist and antagonist are essentially in opposition with one another), though keeping track of every step, twist and turn is the (fun) challenge.

Then there are the cliffhangers.

So not (too) long ago I watched the penultimate episode of Doctor Who “World Enough and Time” (though really I should have been writing this entry), which was frightening (in a good way) and astounding. The intricate storytelling and the character development has led to the start of a emotional ending. I still wish this wasn’t Peter Capaldi’s final series as the Doctor, as I feel no other actor (male or female) can capture the nuances of the character. “The Doctor Falls” will no doubt be a fitting finale for this incarnation of the Doctor.

But I digress.

The journey of crafting a sprawling series saga is (as frequently mentioned) is long and the road is riddled with distractions, diversions and doubt. The journey of writing about the journey of crafting a sprawling series saga is equally complex, especially with the historical diversions and intricate speculation of what might happen if a certain historical (fixed point) event didn’t happen the way it did.

How would the world be different? Would it be different? The ripples of time (and space) offer infinite possibilities.

If only reality can be (re)written as such – the world might be a better place. Or then again it might (if episodes in The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits could attest)

The Journey of the MASC(D) Chronicles moves on, albeit slowly (though perhaps in some alternate universe it’s fully formed and as madcap as I imagined it at the onset).

The Journey of the creation of the MASC(D) Chronicles is (literally) another story.

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Interpretation and Perspective

Literature can serve as an escape from the Real World, and also as a cautionary tale, as the boundaries from which the writer creates his / her story is limitless. The truth within the fictional world(s) can be idealistic or harsh, depending on the character’s perspective and the reader’s sensibilities – one person’s tyrant is another person’s savior. Paradise (for the most part) is subjective and open to interpretation. Some will love it, others will hate it, and (inevitably) everyone will complain about it.

I intended to write about something else for this week’s entry (though it was another quasi-rambling thematic essay about… stuff), but the recent goings-on in the Real World have prompted musings on the importance of interpretation and its power to invoke / provoke a response. For those reading this months or years from now, the apparent controversy over the current production of Julius Caesar as part of the Shakespeare in the Park series was the catalyst. Shakespearean plays have been interpreted and adapted in countless ways over the centuries in film, television and (of course) in live theatre. In the 2017 Shakespeare in the Park production, the titular character cast looks similar to the current (American) President, and there have been protests about it mostly from the (far) right wing.

Spoiler Alert for those who may not have ever read or seen Julius Caesar, (though it seems silly to include a spoiler alert for a 400+ year old play): Caesar is assassinated by a group of Roman senators to prevent him from becoming a tyrant. Chaos ensues afterwards.

The choice to put a contemporary interpretation to a historical tragedy (as Caesar was a real person and the events in the play are more or less what really happened) might have been questionable, given the political atmosphere and the knee-jerk reactions in this instantaneous social media driven world, but it was a valid one, and perhaps done to provoke a response. Then again, the play has existed for centuries and presumably there have been other interpretations / adaptations that have used contemporary political figures as its filter. Yet (to my knowledge) there had not been protests about those productions.

The Arts in general have had the ability to invoke a myriad of emotions through its storytelling, giving the audience a glimpse into the perspective of its protagonist (or antagonist, again depending on one’s perspective). The filter through which the protagonist views his / her world and the people within aids in the overall expansion of a world view and can introduce different, sometimes radical ideas to those who may not have had direct access.

It also sparks the potential for change (hopefully for the better), through discussion and debate; though lately protests and threats seems to be the route taken by the right wing, which is their right to do (as freedom of speech is still a basic right for every American). Whether what they’re saying holds any merit is questionable, but should not be ignored or dismissed.

Storytelling is an art (and a craft) that has the power to create controversy as well as change, giving the reader a window into another world, or a different perspective on an existing universe.

It’s up to the reader to interpret its meaning.

The Purpose of Blogging

So this week’s entry is another (?) quasi-meta jumble of words which may or may not contain insight into the writing process and its (lack of?) progress thus far. Amid the plotting and pondering with regards to the narrative structure, character development and overarching themes, not too much actual!writing has taken place (though a fair amount of editing of the little that had been written has happened, so that’s progress, right?)

While the narrative for Book One of Series One of the MASC(D) Chronicles has been written (mostly in my head) for a while, quasi-plotted out, albeit with some changes here and there to accommodate the constant (and quasi-consistent) epiphanies related to the aforementioned series saga, the writing around it has continued, as has these weekly blog entries. Granted, there might not be too much (useful?) substance within the weekly entries, and may come across as quasi-rambling musings as a way of fulfilling a weekly quota, but this type of writing remains ongoing (often written a few hours almost nonstop). As mentioned before (and will most likely be mentioned in future entries), a high percentage of the content in these entries are spontaneous and unedited (not that they would need any editing as there is no questionable content that could potentially offend anyone – or at least I don’t think so).

The inspiration behind this week’s blog title is the notification (via Facebook and here on WordPress) that I first embarked on this blogging journey five years ago, with Close Encounters of the Theatrical Kind, with the initial entry about my experience seeing One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway. I’m an ardent supporter of live theater and have been most of my life, and I should have started that blog sooner (as I’ve attended many fantastic musicals, plays and other theatre-related events) but writing for that blog is different than writing for this one. I think I may have mentioned this before, in entries where dual blogging occurred (which in and of itself is a rare occasion). This blog is more free form and spontaneous, written entirely within the WordPress site; for the theatre blog, there is more structure and a bit more forethought, written without WordPress site. Other differences between the two blogs are that there is not set specific timeline / deadline in writing the theatre blog, its frequency fluctuates, and  the fact that it’s quasi-factual writing (with some rambling personal opinions thrown in for good measure).

Very different from the goings on in this realm with its imaginary cast of characters residing in a mythical land. Both kinds of writing help in the overall craft (and art) of writing  – the fictional and the factual, and the distinction between them, and the potential to blur the lines.

Even though fictional writing isn’t happening as frequently as possible, and factual writing comes in waves (i.e. whenever I attend a theatrical show or event – though there is a vast backlog of shows I’ve seen prior to starting the blog which I could and should jot down for posterity), at least some kind of writing is happening on a weekly basis.

So that’s some kind of progress in the process.

 

Mid-Year Review

June is upon us, as it the quasi-customary mid-year review of the state of things within the Land of Exposition and its various works in progress. Though really the works in progress are mostly components of a greater whole, one which I sincerely hope makes some semblance of sense when all is said and done (or rather, written and published). That greater whole, the epic saga that has been mentioned quasi-frequently and rarely elaborated upon is (of course) the MASC Chronicles, the three part, multiple book series spanning across time and a quasi-alternate universe.

Or at least it was called the MASC Chronicles until fairly recently – as many writers can attest, ideas flutter about haphazardly, dropping epiphanies and floating away to conspire to create other forms of mischief. The mind has the ability and capacity to run many concurrent scenarios and filter out the absurd (most of the time), as well as compartmentalize real life / world information and fictional imaginings, ensuring the thought streams do not cross.

Well, most minds can do that, separate facts from “fake news”, while others revel in alternate facts and their own bubble of reality. But this is a writing blog and not a political one, and I have no qualifications to comment on the goings on in the world today (and even if I had, this is not the place to do so)

Anyway.

As the muses work their magic on giving the plot bunnies fodder for their efforts, thoughts wander on making sense of the overall layout of the epic saga – the practical world and character building aspects mentioned a few entries ago. As the combination of muses, plot bunnies and a copious amount of Cold Brew coffee (with a side of binge watching Doctor Who) another dimension of possibility has been added which gives some clarity to the process of (alternate) universe building for the Epic Saga.

And all it took was adding one letter.

And it happened three nights ago, at that not-so-convenient point in time that is as one is drifting off to sleep, just before the REM cycle starts.

So the building begins quasi-anew as the extra dimension turns the perspective of the storytelling structure just a little to the left – more possibilities arise, and the fog lifts slightly, though it still rolls along creating its enigmatic effect.

More ripples upon the time / space continuum where fixed points vanish, only to be replaced by new fixed points where Everything Changes – whether or not those changes are positive, negative or neutral remains to be seen.

What is certain is that the mid-year mark is a good time to refresh, rethink, and review all that has come before. Summer hasn’t officially started yet (even though it’s past Memorial Day, the traditional threshold ushering a new season), but there has been a shift in the wind, and a (climate) change in the air.

Time to do something about it.

It’ll all make sense in the end.

I hope.